The Kansas City Chiefs depth chart at offensive line is getting a little more crowded now that the team has signed free agent OT Jared Gaither, formerly of the Baltimore Ravens. I already had a lot of trouble finding the offensive linemen the Chiefs will keep and the Gaither addition makes that task a little more difficult.
Chiefs offensive coordinator Bill Muir noted after practice on Wednesday night that, in a normal year, a team keeps eight active offensive linemen and two practice squad guys.
Remember, though, that to put someone on the practice squad you first have to waive them making them available to the rest of the league. Even then, players are available to other teams while on the practice squad so there's a strategy involved in who goes to the practice squad and who stays on the active roster.
So, as a review, here's where the Chiefs offensive line depth chart looks right now:
LT: Branden Albert, David Mims, Butch Lewis
LG: Ryan Lilja, Darryl Harris, Lucas Patterson
C: Casey Wiegmann, Rodney Hudson, Darryl Harris
RG: Jon Asamoah, Bobby Greenwood, Mike Ingersoll, Chris Harr
RT: Barry Richardson, Ryan O'Callaghan
The guys in bold are my locks at this point. I'm pretty confident all those guys will make the team, whether it's because they were a draft pick, or the clear starter, or a lack of depth behind them.
After that, though, who gets the final three spots?
I would guess at least two tackles -- Gaither, Richardson, O'Callaghan and Mims. All these guys have a reason for and against keeping them. We really don't know how healthy Gaither is but when he is healthy he's a very good tackle. The Chiefs have been looking at tackles so obviously Richardson's spot could be upgraded but with a month before the season I'm not sure they want to replace him. O'Callaghan, like Richardson, knows the system but he lost the job to Richardson last year so I'm not sure he makes it. Then there's Mims who shows a lot of promise and may not be safe on the practice squad but, at this point, that may be the only spot for him.
I would also guess a reserve guard is kept on the active roster. Right now, that would have to go to Harris, I think, unless Hudson can serve dual roles as a backup center and guard.
Muir talked a little bit about this quandary when asked about the reserve guys on the offensive line.
"Right now," Muir said, "Ryan O'Callaghan has played for us on a regular basis in previous years, he's fighting to get his starting spot back. At this time, he's the only veteran we have back there. The rest are free agent rookies and a couple of them have been kind of impressive but ti's a work in progress with them as you know. So it's a little early to be able to say they're going to be able to help us, if they're going to be able to help us and when they're going to be able to help us."
So...the Chiefs have some tough decisions on their hands.