The Chiefs have employed a carousel at left guard since Andy Reid’s arrival.
Every year, there are a plethora of stories written on the players who take on new starting roles for the Kansas City Chiefs. If the Chiefs draft or sign an assumed new starter, the import goes far beyond a news posting. We’re overloaded with analysis, film reviews, hot takes, progress updates from training camp and the like. It’s always interesting to see how a new player develops for K.C., and it makes sense that we’d pay so much attention.
It’s also interesting how rarely we pay attention to a particular position that’s basically been an annual carousel for the Chiefs. At left guard, the Chiefs haven’t had a player put together consecutive seasons as a starter since Andy Reid first arrived—a eight season stretch. This year it was another new signing in Kelechi Osemele, but even that was intended to be short-lived (and his stint was even shorter). Basically, general manager Brett Veach knew even as he was signing one guy that he’d likely have to sign someone new this spring.
In order to get a proper view of just how much the door revolves at left guard in K.C., we thought it’d be fun to look back at the rookies and vets, draft picks and free agents, solid options and forgettable players the Chiefs have tried there since 2013.
When Andy Reid arrived, one of the leftover presents from the Scott Pioli era was a young guard out of the University of Illinois named Jeff Allen, who had been taken int he second round in the previous season’s draft in 2012. During his rookie year, Allen had grabbed hold of the left guard job in Brian Daboll’s offense between Branden Albert and Ryan Lilja, and he retained that role in the new offense installed by Andy Reid.
Allen would be the first of several guards to come to play next to Eric Fisher in the course of the next eight seasons, but it’s possible that Allen could have held the role for much longer. However, a frustrating beginning to the 2014 season for the Chiefs altered his career in K.C. When the Chiefs lost Donald Stephenson to a suspension to start the year, the team moved Allen outside to right tackle to cover the loss. It was there that Allen suffered an elbow injury that cost him nearly a full season.
In 2015, Allen would return from his injury to play in 12 games and start 8 of them but it was clear the Chiefs had moved on to other options (which we will get to). After the season, Allen would leave in free agency after wrapping up his rookie deal to sign a four-year deal with the Houston Texans. Allen would eventually return to the Chiefs after being released by Houston with an injury settlement, and he enjoyed a valued role as a versatile sub for the Chiefs as they pursued their first Super Bowl.
Side note: These days, Jeff’s wife, Marissa, opened up the Cookie Society in the DFW area and their cookies are available to ship in case you’re hungry.