Wanya Morris provides bright spot on a dark night for Kansas City Chiefs

It was nice to see Morris step up and look ready for the role on Sunday night.

Aug 19, 2023; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Kansas City Chiefs offensive tackle Wanya Morris (64) against
Aug 19, 2023; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Kansas City Chiefs offensive tackle Wanya Morris (64) against / Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Technically, Wanya Morris is still best referred to as the swing tackle for the Kansas City Chiefs. After all, left tackle Donovan Smith has been injured the last couple of weeks at various times, which has required Morris to step into his role, and Smith will likely line right back up next week as Patrick Mahomes's blindside protector in Week 14 if healthy.

For those who watched the Chiefs on Sunday Night Football, however, it was also clear that Wanya Morris was not significantly overmatched when tasked with subbing in for Smith, who was dealing with a stinger and shoulder issues. That's a very bright spot for the Chiefs that shone through on an otherwise dark night.

The Chiefs selected Morris in the third round of the 2023 NFL Draft out of Oklahoma as a projectable player with NFL-ready measurables and plus athleticism. The Chiefs even traded up in the third round to get him despite knowing he'd be a bit of a project after only starting 8 games at right tackle during his senior season for the Sooners.

Following the draft, the Chiefs also signed Smith to a one-year deal to make it clear that the team would rely on the veteran as a stopgap while allowing competition and coaching to hone younger guys on the roster—e.g. Prince Tega Wanogho, Lucas Niang, Morris—until they were ready.

At this point, Niang is a non-factor and Wanogho is injured, but Morris stepped in on Sunday night and looked solid in the run game as well as a pass protector. He did the same in limited duty last week as well, but on Sunday he had 46 snaps and very real command of his position. There wasn't a single play during which he looked overwhelmed and it should be noted that the Packers had a nice night rushing the passer overall.

While Smith might slide back into the starting lineup, the Chiefs might be gaining clarity on the future of the position. If Morris is capable of taking over in 2024 from Smith, the Chiefs have a potential three-year starter for around $4.3 million—or 1/8 the cost of right tackle Jawaan Taylor for a single season.

For all of the frustration of a loss, if Morris can claim the left tackle role for the Chiefs and provide a cost-controlled asset there for the next few years, that's a huge development for the Chiefs and their cap situation going forward. At least that's a bright spot at a point where the Kingdom could use something good to discuss.