The Kansas City Chiefs will have some new faces up front along the offensive line in 2014. They'll also be among the youngest in the NFL.
Avg projected starting offensive lineman is 26.59 yrs old. 2 youngest tms: Jaguars (23.6), (Chiefs 24.4). 2 oldest: Pats (29.2), Eagles (29)— Jimmy Kempski (@JimmyKempski) May 19, 2014
Kempsi, an Eagles writer for Philly.com, covers one of the oldest units in the league, but his interesting anecdote paints the Chiefs offense through an interesting lens. The question is whether or not the Chiefs will reap the dividends of a young, athletic line or whether the lack of experience could come back to haunt them.
In fact, it might be the key storyline for the upcoming season that very few people are talking about.
The Chiefs let several veterans along the offensive line leave in free agency. Some were expected and others were not. Branden Albert leaving after several years manning left tackle was the one move that most fans expected, but it was a little jarring to also see Geoff Schwartz and Jon Asamoah leave the team.
While the Chiefs definitely saved money by letting those players walk in free agency, they also took with them 16 years of combined playing experience and 205 games played between them. The addition of veterans like J'Marcus Webb and Jeff Linkenbach will help with experienced depth, but neither player is expected to compete for starting minutes.
The current line-up with ages in parentheses: Eric Fisher (23), Jeff Allen (24), Rodney Hudson (24), Rishaw Johnson (25), Donald Stephenson (25). Hudson will turn 25 in July, while Stephenson turns 26 in September. The others already celebrated their birthdays in 2014. If others enter the picture and end up starting, such as Linkenbach at right guard, then that figure won't change too much. Linkenbach will be 27 next month, so he would be the elder along the line. Other options like Rok Watkins (25) and Eric Kush (24) are just as young.
Instead the Chiefs have decided to turn over the keys to the kids along the line. They're certainly a talented group with higher draft investments involved at most positions. Hopefully that potential turns into production if given the chance to compete.