On Wednesday, Pro Football Focus released its midseason ranking of the NFL’s offensive lines. After ranking the Kansas City Chiefs’ offensive line in eighth place before the season began, Wednesday’s article (written by Sam Monson) now ranks the unit as the league’s second-best.
2. KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (Up 6)
Best-graded: C Creed Humphrey | 90.4
Worst-graded: T Mike Remmers | 64.5
Kansas City’s offense is struggling and doesn’t look anything like the high-flying, explosive enterprise it has been since Patrick Mahomes entered the lineup. But the problems aren’t with the offensive line, which has actually been better than a season ago despite a complete overhaul. Rookies Creed Humphrey and Trey Smith have been the unit’s best-graded players, and no individual player has been getting consistently taken to pieces. Right tackle Lucas Niang is the biggest weakness thus far, and even he has allowed just one sack all season.
Just as they did before the season began, PFF listed the Dallas Cowboys as the league’s best offensive line — and then followed the Chiefs with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3rd preseason), Cleveland Browns (2nd) and Los Angeles Rams (4th).
With three rookies starting on the Kansas City line, it was fascinating that PFF chose to rank it among the league’s best before a snap had been played. But now — with half of the 2021 season in the books — PFF sees it as an elite unit. Considering the effort the Chiefs put into rebuilding the line during the offseason, this is very good news.
But it’s also important to understand the specfics of PFF’s evaluation. Monson only references PFF’s overall grades for Kansas City’s offensive linemen. In its view, the Chiefs are substantially better at run blocking than they are at pass blocking. Among all offensive linemen in run blocking, Orlando Brown Jr., Joe Thuney, Creed Humprhrey, Trey Smith and Lucas Niang rank 39th, 121st, fifth, 13th and 41st respectively — but against the pass, they are ranked 67th, eighth, 63rd, 130th and 174th. And after suffering an injury, Niang gave way to Mike Remmers (89th in run blocking, 146th in pass blocking) — who was in turn replaced by Andrew Wylie.
So while PFF sees the unit as excellent overall, it is still at its weakest while protecting quarterback Patrick Mahomes — which most Chiefs observers would likely say should be its No. 1 job.