The latest 2021 NFL mock draft to be posted comes from CBS Sports who has the Chiefs upgrading the interior of their offensive line with Oklahoma center Creed Humphrey.
Given that we’re still a little sad to see the 2020 NFL Draft so close in the rearview mirror, a truth that brings the knowledge that we’re so far from the next one, we decided to look at another 2021 mock draft to see what a new set of results might yield. For the Kansas City Chiefs, the results yield some help along the offensive interior—at least that’s what Ryan Wilson of CBS Sports believes.
Oklahoma center Creed Humphrey has been tasked with anchoring the offensive line for some very talented quarterbacks in his college career so far which means he’s likely quite ready for the task of doing so for the NFL’s very best in Patrick Mahomes. Wilson has the Chiefs taking Humphrey at the bottom of the first round and writes, “The Chiefs didn’t land a center in the 2020 draft, and Austin Reiter is in the final year of his deal. Humphrey was Jalen Hurts’ center in 2019, and Kyler Murray‘s the season before that.”
Center is a very interesting position for the Chiefs at this stage for a couple reasons. From the outside looking in, the drop from Mitch Morse to Austin Reiter in 2019 looked like a rather precipitous drop—so much so that many fans assumed the Chiefs would find a replacement for Reiter this offseason. Mock drafts had the Chiefs taking Cesar Ruiz in the first round or at least making a move in later rounds for the likes of Washington’s Nick Harris or Temple’s Matt Hennessy.
Instead, the Chiefs’ actions speak much louder about the perceived needs at guard. The Chiefs were reportedly in on New Orleans Saints guard Andrus Peat in free agency and tried to also retain Stefen Wisniewski, who left for the Pittsburgh Steelers. In the draft, the Chiefs selected TCU offensive tackle Lucas Niang in the third round and stated afterward that they’re likely going to slide him in at guard to start his career. Through it all, the biggest move the Chiefs have made to provide real competition for Reiter is to add undrafted free agent Darryl Williams from Mississippi State.
Next year, however, as Wilson states, Reiter will be gone and the Chiefs will have to make some sort of move to address it. It makes sense given the ongoing talent concerns and advancing age along the bookends that the team would continue to invest heavily in the draft along the offensive front.
As for Humphrey, he could have entered this year’s draft and, per the Oklahoman, would have been taken early second round at worst. “Humphrey is almost universally considered the top center prospect in the 2021 class plus has the flexibility to play guard as well, giving him plenty of positional flexibility and enhancing his draft stock,” writes Ryan Aber. ESPN also rated him as the No. 7 returning offensive lineman this fall.
The Chiefs have internal options who could potentially provide earlier competition for Reiter and/or claim the role before the 2021 NFL Draft, a list headed by 2019 seventh round pick Nick Allegretti. If not, however, the idea of Humphrey next offseason is a nice thought as the Chiefs continue to try to protect their most valuable asset in Patrick Mahomes.