All of a sudden, the Kansas City Chiefs appear to have a lot of depth at offensive tackle. We know the starters -- Branden Albert on the left side and Eric Winston on the right side -- but it's the guys behind him that will provide one of the most interesting training camp battles this year.
Based on past history the Chiefs could keep 2-3 offensive tackles. The starters will take up two of those spots, obviously. Third round pick Donald Stephenson, free agent signee Tony Ugoh and second year player David Mims will all be competing for that swing tackle job. You can also throw in there second round pick Jeff Allen, who will see some time at tackle in addition to guard.
[Related: Chiefs Offensive Line Preview]
So how does this all shake out?
Stephenson: He's a third round pick. He's making the team. There's really no question about this. Stephenson is also probably too good to be safe on the practice squad.
Ugoh: Free agent pick-up signed on the first day of camp. His advantage is that he's a multi-year starter in the league, has experience in a number of offensive systems and can play on the right and left side. Our Colts blog, Stampede Blue, writes of Ugoh:
He was cut because he wasn't very good, and there were questions about his toughness. Nagging injuries that others would play through kept Ugoh on the sideline. He was supposed to be Peyton Manning's bookend left tackle for ten years. He lasted just two. In 2009, he was benched for Charlie Johnson. He never saw the field again in a meaningful game.
It's worth noting that, in 2007 (his rookie year), he was thrust into the starting lineup as the LT because longtime veteran Tarik Glenn retired suddenly. Ugoh was very good that season, especially given the circumstances. Now, he's viewed as one of the biggest busts in Bill Polian's entire career as a G.M.
Mims: The Chiefs added him last year and stuck him on the practice squad until calling him up in late November. He's huge so size isn't an issue. His road to the 53-man roster is an uphill one, though. Based on upside alone, I'd prefer Mims over Ugoh but it'd be a hard decision to place Mims above Stephenson, a third round pick. I don't see how you can keep both Mims and and Stephenson on the roster.
Allen: This complicates things even more. Allen was drafted as a guard, the heir to Ryan Lilja. But he's also going to be seeing time at offensive tackle as a secondary position. What if Allen turns out to be solid at tackle and he can backup both guard spots and both tackle spots? Not sure if that'll happen but, hey, it's possible.
[More Position Previews: Quarterbacks | Running backs | Receivers | Tight Ends]
The Chiefs last year were screwed when Eric Berry and Jamaal Charles went down, two key positions without good enough backups. They clearly weren't going to let that happen this year as you can tell by the competition at the backup offensive tackle spots.
This is turning out to be one of the better camp battles this year.
While we're talking position battles, here's BJ Kissel on the top five Chiefs training camp battles.