Dec 7, 2014; Glendale, AZ, USA; Kansas City Chiefs guard Zach Fulton (73) against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. The Cardinals defeated the Chiefs 17-14. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
The Kansas City roster is fairly complete. A young and talented group of players is supplemented by some elite veterans. In fact, the Chiefs were ranked in the top 10 over the next three seasons by ESPN, and many (although perhaps not on national channels) are beginning to believe in Andy Reid and his Chiefs.
The starting spots seem to be fairly straightforward also. The second wide receiver is a major question mark, but on the defensive side, barring injuries or a unbelievable training camp breakout, the starting 11 seems fairly set. However, I would like to focus on a position that at this time, is far from certain. That position is right guard.
I see 4 possible starters at right guard for Kansas City in 2015. Some are more accomplished, some are rookies, some aren’t even on the roster yet. So, who are the 4 possible starters at right guard, and who will win the battle to start come week 1?
I must mention that I don’t see Jeff Allen as a possible starter at right guard. His fight will be at right tackle, and if he fails to win the right tackle spot, then I expect to see him purely as a depth option rather than starting in another position along the line.
Fulton played all 16 games last year. In and of itself, that is an incredible achievement from a 6th round rookie. Admittedly, when his main competitors for the right guard spot were Mike McGlynn and Jeff Linkenbach, it would be a major detriment to his quality had he not won the starting job, but nonetheless, Fulton did show off his potential, especially in the final few weeks of the season.
Joshua Brisco on Roughing the Kicker at AA radio is a huge Fulton supporter and I have to agree with him. While Fulton struggled greatly at times, he was in his rookie year playing alongside Ryan Harris. Another year in the system, a full offseason to further improve his game, and Fulton could well be the most improved player on the whole of the Chiefs roster.
Some have claimed that Fanaika is solid, rather than spectacular. While I agree that Fanaika is not spectacular, I cannot agree with the statement that he is even solid. As this article noted, he is good, at best, in the run game. He lacks quickness, but has good upper body strength and has the ability to maul opposing defensive linemen, every now and then, creating running lanes.
However, Fanaika allowed 29 QB hurries last season, the 3rd most of all guards in the league. More poignantly perhaps, he played up to 200 less snaps than either of those above him. It was depressing enough to see Alex Smith run for his life consistently last year. Adding the 28 year old veteran has not solved this problem. I am hoping that Reid and Dorsey have seen something that I haven’t, but we should all be worried if Fanaika wins the starting job.
Next: Two more candidates...