2. Who will emerge as the starter at right guard?
With the departure of both players who logged starts at right guard last year (Geoff Schwartz and Jon Asamoah), one of the Chiefs’ biggest holes in 2014 is at right guard. According to Pro Football Focus, the tandem were the two highest-ranked guards available when free agency opened. That position was one of a precious few strengths along the Chiefs young offensive line. This year, with Schwartz, Asamoah, and Branden Albert all defecting for other teams, the group is even younger and more inexperienced.
As it stands, Kansas City has roughly four options to fill the vacancy left by their two departed veterans. The quartet is comprised of rookie Zach Fulton, recent violator of the league’s substance abuse policy Rokevious Watkins, veteran Jeff Linkenbach, and former Seahawk Rishaw Johnson. That group probably doesn’t inspire much confidence among members of the Kingdom. The most promising members of this bunch are also the least experienced.
Fulton has promise, but as a sixth-round pick he needs time to refine his game. To his credit, he did show well during OTA’s and was able to snare a few first team snaps. There’s some thought that he could compete and have a legitimate shot at winning the job outright. The Chiefs haven’t put pads on yet, so it might be a bit too premature to expect Fulton to do so. Watkins has been slapped with a four-game suspension so he’s the least likely of the group to earn the spot. Rishaw Johnson appeared to be the favorite going in to the offseason, but reports suggest he’s done little to separate himself. Linkenbach is the elder statesman, but might be the least talented (he received a -8.1 grade from PFF in 2013).
This is sure to be one of the hotly-contested position battles on the Missouri Western fields, but it’ll likely be resolved during the team’s preseason contests. I’d venture to guess that this is a two-horse race between Fulton and Johnson. Rishaw Johnson was fortunate to have earned his first NFL start in the Week 17 matchup with the San Diego Chargers (when Coach Reid rested his regular starters). Johnson played well and gave himself the early lead. Time will tell if it’s actually his job to lose.
What say you, Addicts? Are there other important position battles that’ll be settled over the next five weeks? Will Justin Houston make his way to St. Joseph for camp? Are there other pressing issues the franchise is faced with? Use the comment section below to continue the conversation. Your thoughts are always welcome here. Thanks for stopping by. As always, we appreciate your readership and support.
Until next time, Addicts!