What would Andrew Tiller offer the Kansas City Chiefs?
By Matt Conner
The Kansas City Chiefs hosted a free agent visit with veteran guard Andrew Tiller. What would the former 49ers OL bring to the table?
After a few years in the NFL bouncing from team to team, Andrew Tiller finally found a home in San Francisco for the last two years with the 49ers. Tiller started 14 games along the offensive line as a guard, and now at 28-years-old, he brings some versatility and experience to a new team looking to bolster its offensive front.
The Kansas City Chiefs hosted Tiller for a free agent visit on Monday, the third such visit after previously hosting linebacker Gerald Hodges and defensive tackle Bennie Logan. Hodges is still a free agent, but John Dorsey struck a one-year deal with Logan to help replace the departed Dontari Poe on the defensive line. With Tiller, it’s a bit harder to tell what K.C.’s general manager is thinking.
To get a better sense of what Tiller would bring to the table, we asked Peter Panacy, site expert from Niners Noise, a few questions and he graciously agreed to answer them.
Andrew Tiller finally seemed to find a home in San Francisco after bouncing around the league. What allowed him to find a home with the Niners?
Andrew Tiller managed to be in the right situation at the right time. The 49ers were dealing with two notable offensive line departures in 2015 — Mike Iupati and Anthony Davis. Towards the end of the season, when it became apparent right guard Jordan Devey wasn’t going to work out, fans got to see a little of what he was capable of doing. He looked like a solid backup and even a potential starting guard in a power scheme.
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Tiller started several games in the last two seasons for the Niners. Was he a solid starter or was it detrimental to the line?
Late in 2016, I was one of a number of people wondering why Tiller wasn’t getting the start over veteran left guard Zane Beadles. Part of it probably was the zone-scheme fit, which former head coach Chip Kelly implemented a year ago. Pro Football Focus certainly graded Tiller higher than Beadles. Of course some of this could be the stigma of being an undrafted free agent, but it’s hard to see that being a reality for a struggling team.
Nevertheless, I think most Niner fans were impressed by Tiller’s play, even if it was limited.
Why were the Niners ready to move on?
It’s more of a fit thing at this point than anything else. Tiller is probably best suited for a power scheme, not the zone-blocking approach. And head coach Kyle Shanahan will be implementing an outside-zone approach this offseason. I’m not sure Tiller fits into that. And, by looking at the guys’ strengths ahead of Tiller on the depth chart, perhaps both Shanahan and general manager John Lynch just didn’t see the fit.
I don’t think letting Tiller walk was a matter of trimming the fat, which has happened elsewhere among the roster. I just think it was never going to be the right fit, scheme-wise.
What does Tiller have to offer a team like the Chiefs?
Tiller is, at best, a stopgap starter in a team needing an inside presence, preferably at the right guard position. He’s OK at left guard, but he’s not quite as adept at run blocking on the left side of the line, which could hinder teams running to that side. I’m not sure if Tiller winds up being an everyday starter for the next two or three years, but he’s certainly capable of holding his own.
Teams looking for a solid, power-scheme guard could make some use of Tiller, especially in an immediate swing-guard role.