In the latest installment of this series, I'm taking a look at one of the more talked about players on the Chiefs; Branden Albert. The left tackle was drafted in the mega class of 2008 after Kansas City traded up to select him with the 15th pick of the first round. Since that time, the debate has raged between Chiefs fans whether he's a long term solution or a player who should be moved to the right tackle spot.
In 2010, Albert gave up 8 sacks. He played well early in the season, but faded down the stretch along with the rest of the offensive line in losses to Oakland and Baltimore. On the other side of the coin he can be a dominating run blocker and does a very nice job getting to the second level, which is a huge positive on such a run oriented team.
The big question is can Branden Albert take that next step and become an upper-tier left tackle?
My Verdict: No. Albert will be the same guy he has been, a good player but not great. Albert has plenty of games where he's dominant. He also sprinkles some games in where he's average and hurts the team at times. He's a smart player who rarely gets penalized but he doesn't always have the greatest footwork in the world.
Usually, Albert gets beat by a speed move to his left which can be corrected by quicker feet and better technique. The problem is Albert was a guard in college and I think that was for a reason. Now, with that being said I do believe he can and will be Kansas City's left tackle for years to come. He's an above average player, he's just not Jake Long, Jordan Gross, or Joe Thomas.
The one thing he's excellent at is run blocking. He and Waters form a nasty tandem on the left side of the line and that can't go under-appreciated. If you look at many of Charles' longest runs they come behind them (sometimes along with Moeaki). Albert is and remains a good pick at the #15 slot.
This year the Chiefs need to be better with handling bigger, physical fronts such as Oakland, Pittsburgh, and Detroit. Last season Kansas City struggled against those types of teams. Most people said that was more a function of the interior of their offensive line, but the stats say otherwise.
If the Chiefs are going to the next level they need the big boys, led by Albert, to step up and lead the way.