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What the Chiefs should do at center

A breakdown of the 2021 Chiefs roster — one position at a time.

NFL: AUG 29 Preseason - Chiefs at Packers Photo by Larry Radloff/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

With free agency scheduled to officially open on March 17, it’s a good time to take a closer look at positions of need on the Kansas City Chiefs. I looked at the offensive tackles on Monday, the defensive ends on Tuesday and the wide receivers on Wednesday. In this article, I’ll examine the center position.

Who they have

NFL: Preseason-San Francisco 49ers at Kansas City Chiefs Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Nick Allegretti

You know Allegretti as the left guard who was on the field for nearly every offensive snap from Week 6 through Super Bowl LV. He was thrown into the lineup when starting right tackle Mitchell Schwartz left the game with a back injury, and Mike Remmers was taken from the left guard spot to fill in for Schwartz. In his rookie season (2019), he appeared to be the backup center — evident by the preseason snaps he saw at the position.

He leads off this list because he has the most experienced at the position on the current version of the 2021 roster. Martinas Rankin had experience at the center in college, but no one on the depth chart has regular-season experience — even Allegretti. It has been reported that two-year starting center and unrestricted free agent Austin Reiter will not be returning to the team, and Daniel Kilgore is also a free agent.

It’s impossible to know if Allegretti prefers one position or the other, but he did his job at left guard in his first stretch of real NFL play. If they don’t have to move him from that spot, they can let him own the guard position and focus solely on that. If they get desperate, he should be an adequate insurance plan.

My opinion: Keep Allegretti as a guard, add a capable starter at center through free agency or the draft.

Darryl Williams

Mississippi State v Arkansas Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

The 2020 undrafted free agent is labeled a center by the Chiefs because he started all 13 games his senior year there following two seasons as a left guard. He didn’t make the active roster after his rookie training camp but spent the entire season on the practice squad. He was released after the regular season but then re-signed with a reserve/futures deal.

Kansas City seeks out players that can play multiple positions along the line, and Williams has college experience at both interior positions. Add on the fact that he’s technically the only center on the team right now, he could be a sleeper to make the fringes of the roster as depth.

My opinion: Give him the opportunity to earn the backup center position in training camp.

Who they could sign

If I wasn’t clear enough, I don’t think the starting center is currently on this football team. The option to re-sign Daniel Kilgore is always a possibility — but not to be the starter. The top-tier external solutions include Houston Texans’ Nick Martin, Green Bay Packers’ Corey Linsley and New England Patriots’ David Andrews.

There are other names that may have a lower price tag, such as Cincinnati Bengals’ B.J. Finney, Miami Dolphins Ted Karras, and Baltimore Ravens’ Matt Skura.

Who they could draft

While the offensive tackle class is stacked for the first round, there are only a few true centers valued around the range of the Chiefs’ first pick — and 31 might be a stretch for them. Alabama’s Landon Dickerson suffered a knee injury toward the end of his college career, while Oklahoma’s Creed Humphrey just may not be worth such a high pick. Along with Ohio State’s Josh Myers, these prospects make more sense to select on the second day of the draft.

If they want to use the later rounds of the draft to address the position — as they have in the past — Kentucky’s Drake Jackson or Pittsburgh’s Jimmy Morrissey are late-round center prospects with potential.

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