KC Chiefs: Three positions to address in the 2023 NFL Draft
By Jacob Milham
The weakest point of Kansas City’s offensive unit is clearly the offensive tackles. Both Andrew Wylie and Orlando Brown had lengthy stretches as the league’s worst starting tackles. The Chiefs also lack long-term options at the position and need to address that in this upcoming draft.
The Athletic’s Nate Taylor expects the Chiefs to place the franchise tag on Orlando Brown once again when previewing the team’s offseason. The approach is hardly a long-term solution, but it would at least buy the Chiefs more time to address left tackle. The four-time Pro Bowler could not work out an extension with the Chiefs last year, despite historic attempts by Kansas City. Brown had another slow start but a dominant ending to the 2022 season. He did not allow a sack after Week 15, as the Chiefs’ pass protection was key during the team’s Super Bowl run.
Brown will still make a fully guaranteed $20 million in 2023 on the franchise tag, a raise from $16.7 million in 2022.
Wylie may not pursue historic money like Brown, but the veteran started all 17 games for the Chiefs in 2022. After playing 95% of the team’s offensive snaps, that production and availability will be hard to replace. The Chiefs retained Wylie on the cheap last offseason, signing him to a one-year, $2.5 million deal. Wylie’s market will likely remain small, as he was the weakest link on the Chiefs’ offensive line. He did not allow any sacks in the postseason, but PFF still graded him as one of the league’s worst tackles during the postseason and regular season.
“Those guys obviously had good years for us,” head coach Andy Reid said. “All these contract things I haven’t gotten with Veach on at all. I kind of stay out of that world, but I think both guys are very well liked here, and I’m sure that Brett will surely make a strong attempt at keeping them here. But we’ll see how that goes.”
Lucas Niang is still on the roster, but the Chiefs did not rush the former TCU Horned Frog back from injury. He saw sporadic snaps during the postseason and will likely compete for the starting right tackle role later this summer. But, like Wylie and Brown, Niang is not under contract for long. He will be an unrestricted free agent after the 2024 season and has not given Kansas City a reason to retain him beyond his current contract.
The Chiefs can at least address adding more tackles on rookie deals during the draft, but will likely not find a top-tier prospect due to their draft position. The worst byproduct of success for a team is picking later in each round of the draft, but the Chiefs still have more than enough picks to move around if they want.