Pro Football Focus released offensive line rankings for all 32 teams on Thursday, with the Kansas City Chiefs checking in at 18th.
Here were the comments made by PFF senior analyst Mike Renner:
18. KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
PROJECTED STARTING LINEUP:
Left Tackle: Eric Fisher, 70.4 overall grade
Left Guard: Bryan Witzmann, 40.6
Center: Mitch Morse, 44.9
Right Guard: Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, 78.2
Right Tackle: Mitchell Schwartz, 80.0
2017 season-end rank: 16th (-2)
The Chiefs are the definition of a solid, if unspectacular, unit. Mitchell Schwartz is one of the best right tackles in the game – earning an 80.0 overall grade last season – but pretty much everyone else on the line is right around average for their position. That gets the job done in today’s NFL though where oftentimes a line is only as strong as its weakest link.
As Renner notes, Schwartz has the right tackle position locked down (he was a second-team All-Pro), and Dr. Larry is still improving at the ripe, young age of 27. Our own Matt Lane evaluated Duvernay-Tardif as a Pro Bowl player in his offseason scouting series.
To the left of Duvernay-Tardif is where it gets a bit more, err, interesting.
Center Mitch Morse’s PFF scores weren’t great, and that is only part of the problem.
I think you can say that Morse is (at the very least) serviceable. I happen to think he’s better than his PFF score indicates. The issue is that it isn’t clear he will be ready for the start of training camp or the regular season due to lingering foot complications.
I noted in my five hot takes from Chiefs OTAs that Cam Erving, his replacement, said this back in June 2017:
“I’m always happy to be able to play football, but I’m definitely more comfortable and happy playing tackle. You don’t have to tell everybody else what to do. You communicate with everybody and make sure they’re on the same page, but guys aren’t relying on me to tell them what to do.”
Not exactly the kind of quote you want to recall from the player who took all of the snaps at the center position during OTAs and is in line to do so at training camp if Morse cannot go.
Where is Zach Fulton when you need him? (Oh yeah, Houston)
It gets grimmer at left guard. Renner also notes that Bryan Witzmann, last year’s starter, earned a grade of 40.6 for the 2017 season, the worst mark on the line.
So, if we’re going by OTAs, the Chiefs starting left guard, as it stands ahead of training camp, is down to either a player who hasn’t consistently started since 2016 in Ehinger, or the rookie from Bowling Green in Hunter, who hasn’t played left guard since 2015.
Left tackle Eric Fisher, rated by PFF a 70.4, is what he is at this point.
The problem here is that with a rookie quarterback, adjusting to the speed of the professional game is enough of a challenge. Patrick Mahomes will need time if the Chiefs are going to take full advantage of his talents.
That, and the last thing you want is Mahomes getting sacked often, which could lead to injury.
Should Chiefs fans be worried more about the offensive line?
Yes. Yes you should.