The process of filling the Kansas City Chiefs needs has begun. Or it began a while ago and we're just now catching up.
KC Chiefs head coach Andy Reid spoke to the media today, the start of the Chiefs offseason program. Reid said that at right guard, Rishaw Johnson would get the first crack at the job and at free safety it would be Husain Abdullah who would get the first shot.
This doesn't mean these positions are set in stone. There are still players the Chiefs could sign or trade for. There's also the 2014 NFL Draft, where they hold the No. 23 overall pick.
For now, though, Johnson and Abdullah are the ones Reid mentioned when those positions of need were brought up in the press conference room at Arrowhead today.
Johnson is someone we predicted to take the right guard job to start. He's a former SEC recruit at Ole Miss, where he played for three years. He was booted off the team and transferred to California (Pa.), which is also second year center Eric Kush's school. He went undrafted in 2012 and spent time with the Seattle Seahawks.
Johnson was one of those reserve players who saw lots of playing time in the Week 17 finale against the San Diego Chargers, where he reportedly impressed the Chiefs coaching staff. MNChiefsfan recently did a full breakdown of Johnson's Week 17 tape, which you should read right now if you haven't already.
Competing with Johnson will be free agent signee Jeff Linkenbach along with Rok Watkins and whoever else GM John Dorsey brings in.
"We'll open it up and let them go," Andy Reid said. "We signed a kid in the offseason so he'll get into the mix and compete ther.e Then we have some guys that we kept and were here with us last year. Let them all get in, mix it up and see how they go."
Abdullah joined the Chiefs last season after a year out of football. He played in multiple spots last year and after re-signing a two-year deal with the Chiefs, he told me he could envision himself having a larger role this season.
"It's still a wait and see because of who we bring in, what happens in the draft and how things shape up with OTAs, minicamps and training camp as well but I would imagine that I would have an expanded role," Abdullah told me in March.
"Right now, Abdullah is the obvious one and deserving of that opportunity," Reid added on Monday.
Reid told reporters today that he views the safety positions as almost interchangeable. He did not indicate that the Chiefs were thinking about moving Eric Berry to free safety as some have wondered.
Also of note at safety is that Sanders Commings, last year's fifth round pick who missed nearly the entire season, is healthy. Reid said he will be an option at safety as well.
It's only April and the first day of the offseason program so plenty of things can change but for now that's what those two positions of need look like.