Regular readers may have noticed that we recently posted an item on Chiefs safety Sanders Commings and whether he could end up being the answer at free safety. Right here we have another post wondering if an in-house player is the answer at a position of need.
The position is guard and the player is Rishaw Johnson.
As a refresher, Johnson was an SEC recruit at Ole Miss in 2008. He was there until 2010 when he was kicked off the team. He then went to California (PA). He joined the Seahawks in his first season in the NFL then came to Kansas City his second year. The league lists him at 6'3 and 313 pounds. Last year's starting guards are listed at 340 pounds (Geoff Scwhartz), 306 pounds (Jeff Allen) and 305 pounds (Jon Asamoah).
Matt Conner included Johnson in our in-house players series earlier this year but I came across a couple more of items on Johnson that warrants another look-see.
Last week, I saw this from Lance Zierlein, sports talk radio host in Houston and football writer:
@bkissel7 @Schottey Chiefs believe Rishaw is ready to take over. They LOVED how he played vs. SD at end of the year.— Lance Zierlein (@LanceZierlein) March 12, 2014
Johnson was among the Chiefs backups that played in Week 17 against the Chargers while the starters rested but a backup throughout the season. That caught my interest for obvious reasons being free agency week and all. If the Chiefs believe they possibly / maybe / could have a potential starting guard on the roster, they probably wouldn't go out and spend big money on a guard in free agency, right?
This is true. Did well vs SD RT @ArrowheadPride: Seems like a long shot but Chiefs do have an in-house option at OG http://t.co/6je2SqAk4Z— Terez A. Paylor (@TerezPaylor) February 25, 2014
Schwartz, who is now with the Giants in New York, went on The Drive with Danny Parkins on 610 Sports on Tuesday. Danny asked him what the Chiefs have in the guys who were behind him on the Chiefs line last season.
"Rishaw played really well in the Chargers game," Schwartz said. "He's a guy that has a lot of talent and he really developed as the year went on. He's strong and explosive off the ball. Sometimes it takes guys a couple of years to get comfortable where they're playing in a game. He did a great job against the Chargers."
Another mention of the Chargers game ... interesting. This led me to asking Chiefs GM John Dorsey on our call yesterday how important that Week 17 game was for the coaching staff and front office, getting the youngsters a shot to play.
"Anytime you can get another opportunity to evaluate the players that don't get to contribute on a week-in, week-out basis, that's very helpful," Dorsey said. "What it does is it helps the coaching staff get a degree of comfort that those guys in the personnel department as they build this thing. That's what the communication between the coaches and the personnel staff does. It's always an advantage to get those guys to play and those guys showed very well on Week 17 of the NFL schedule."
Unfortunately, Dorsey wasn't giving us an in-depth scouting report on Johnson but he did say this: "He's going to come in here and he's going to compete. He's showed that he can play the game of football, and I'm just excited to see how much stride he has made here this year."
It's a long way to the season opener with more free agency and the 2014 NFL Draft to acquire more talent as well as evaluation opportunities such as OTAs and training camp to evaluate existing talent. Rishaw Johnson is one of those existing talents that is one to keep an eye on.
It's almost like the Sanders Commings situation. You have hopes that this guy can come in and take over the job next year. But he's probably too young and inexperienced to hand the job to him. Competition and veteran insurance (Jeff Linkenbach?) is needed.
My gut has been telling me for a while that the Chiefs first round pick will be an offensive lineman. That would obviously shake things up.