The Kansas City Chiefs got a well-rounded, versatile lineman with a nasty edge in the 7th round in the form of Illinois guard/center Nick Allegretti.
Kansas City Chiefs scout Terry Delp made it clear he’s not too fond of watching offensive linemen. That makes sense, given that most of us aren’t watching the center or the right guard as we’re watching the Chiefs on Sunday. The game can be thrilling, to be sure, but most of us might not describe hand usage and leverage wins as “thrilling.”
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Allegretti, a versatile offensive lineman out of the University of Illinois, was selected by the Chiefs in the seventh round of the 2019 NFL Draft. After the draft, the Chiefs sent Delp out to meet with reporters to comment on a prospect he’d scouted. “I don’t usually get excited watching linemen, cause he just gets after people. He will throw people around. He’s got a nasty edge. He’s strong. Really patient under control. Smart player. He’s fun to watch and he’s an offensive lineman.”
Typically a late round flyer is just that, but the Chiefs have had a nice level of success in particular with late-round linemen. Laurent Duvernay-Tardif is currently the team’s starting right guard and he began as a sixth round product. Last offseason, the Chiefs waved goodbye to their sixth man, so to speak, in Zach Fulton, who departed for a $28 million deal from the Houston Texans. He also was a sixth round pick. Andrew Wylie was a journeyman pickup signed to a futures contract last offseason. He ended the year as the Chiefs rookie of the year.
Allegretti now joins former Holy Cross center Jimmy Murray, who was an undrafted addition last year, and Kahlil McKenzie, who was the team’s sixth round choice last year, as the developmental linemen on the roster. The team will need one or more of them to take a step up in a season where the Chiefs lost both their starting center and backup center in free agency, as Mitch Morse and Jordan Devey signed with the Buffalo Bills and Oakland Raiders, respectively.
Allegretti might need some time, but he’s also made 36 consecutive starts in the Big Ten for the Fighting Illini. Compared to Murray and McKenzie (who was a defensive lineman at Tennessee), he’s certainly the most pro-ready coming out of college. Delp believes guard and center are both possibilities for Allegretti’s pro path moving forward.
“His best tape was at guard because he’s just a big, physical mauler type guy,” said Delp. “He’s really fun to watch. He gets after it, plays football hard, but he is athletic enough, versatile enough—you saw it in the East-West [Shrine Game]—to play center. And he did a really good job at it. He played a little heavier during the year, so guard looked better. And then he lost some weight for the all-star game and looked really good at center. Definitely looking at a two-position guy in the NFL.”
For now, Allegretti will face competition at rookie minicamp. It will be interesting to see how he fares against guys who’ve been around Arrowhead for a full year now alongside other hungry prospects hoping to turn heads of the team’s coaching staff. Any seventh round pick faces an uphill climb, but the Chiefs made this call for a reason. Delp says there’s reason to believe in him as a coachable prospect, and Allegretti should have confidence knowing the Chiefs have done this before.