The Chiefs made a pretty significant investment in Lucas Niang when they took him in the third round of the draft last season. The massive Niang is listed at 6-foot-6 and 315 pounds. He’s one of those rare specimens who has both the power to move defenders and the movement skills needed to survive at tackle. Niang started at right tackle for TCU in college, and with the Chiefs moving on from Mitchell Schwartz, it would make sense that Niang may be the heir apparent at that position.
The real question here is not if the Chiefs have Niang as part of their plans this season but rather where they are planning on using him after he opted out of his rookie season due to COVID-19 concerns. Do they plan to just plug him in essentially as a rookie at his college position of right tackle? Will they feel like they need to play him inside at guard until he has time to actually practice every day with the team? Do they think so highly of his skills that they will consider him at left tackle?
I believe that the plan will be for Niang to start this season. If I had to guess today, I would guess that he is their opening game right tackle, but it’s going to be interesting to see where early reports have him playing. The other thing I don’t know is how much communication the Chiefs have been able to have with him during the season and if they feel that he will be considerably ahead of a typical rookie or if they feel last season was basically a total lost season for him. I’m excited about his upside and hope that he can be a solid starter for K.C. this season, but there are plenty of questions here.
While there are plenty of questions about Niang, the Chiefs biggest X-factor on the offensive line next season may be this next player.