With the Chiefs vast amount of needs along the offensive line and with even last year's gems like Wade Smith visiting other teams, it's no secret that every fan wants the Chiefs to address the position in this year's off-season. Specifically, many draftniks speak of the Chiefs using multiple picks in the draft along their offensive line throughout the seven rounds and that's not a bad idea. Still, expecting rookies to be able to come in and play at a high level is unlikely - otherwise, last year's choice of Colin Brown would have provided some results.
So here's hoping that some of those answers also come through free agency. Some offensive linemen like offensive tackle Tony Pashos have already signed, taking those possibilities out of contention. But one new name entered the fray this afternoon with a surprise release of Ryan Lilja by the Colts.
Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk noted the following:
Colts center Jeff Saturday disagreed with President Bill Polian's suggestion that the team's offensive line struggled in the Super Bowl. Polian is the one that makes personnel decisions, though, and he spoke loud and clear by releasing starting guard Ryan Lilja Monday, according to Alex Marvez of Fox. Lilja was due a $1.73 million bonus soon, but the move is still surprising. He started every game for the Colts last season and is only 28 years old.
Of course, Lilja is a stronger pass blocker than run blocker, as he was part of a fantastic pass blocking line that kept Peyton Manning mostly upright for the last few years. But the Colts were dead last in the NFL this season in rushing yards, and that might not play out well with Kansas City's expected reliance on Jamaal Charles (and hopefully Thomas Jones). But it takes five to make these things happen and the scouting reports aren't all bad.
With some current pro scouts noting Lilja's intelligence, quickness, agility and body control that makes him able to get to the second level, Lilja could possibly make a great addition to a line in need like the Chiefs. After all, it's not that the Chiefs are abandoning the passing game at all. Plus, Lilja is only 28 and has championship experience. There are some health questions after Lilja missed the 2008 season with knee issues, but after starting all of 2009, it seems those problems are in the past.