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 have looked at the offensive tackles, defensive ends, wide receivers, centers and cornerbacks. In this article, I’ll examine the guard position.
Who they have
Before opting out of the 2020 NFL season to aid Canada in the COVID-19 relief effort, Duvernay-Tardif had 3,895 career snaps in five seasons — all at right guard. He’s missed chunks of multiple seasons with injury, but he’s been as constant as any guard in the Andy Reid era. It’s the reason the team signed him to a lengthy contract extension early in his career.
That deal used to be labeled an overpayment — but now it’s a value. He’ll have the 21st-highest cap hit of all NFL guards in 2021. He’s had an up-and-down career, but he’s still a capable, intelligent starter that understands coach Reid’s offense very well. If he’s motivated, a year of rest could be just what the doctor ordered for an oft-injured player at age 31 by next season.
He should be trusted to start at right guard for Week 1, but they should still make him earn the job against the worthwhile competition.
My opinion: Create a legitimate competition for the starting right guard position.
I’ve touched on Allegretti as a center option — but his real NFL experience has come as the Chiefs’ left guard. He played two snaps at right guard his rookie season, and 895 snaps at left guard this last season. After entering the fold in Week 6, Allegretti held down that spot through Super Bowl LV. According to PFF, he allowed a sack in his debut game — then didn’t again for the rest of the year.
Unfortunately, he still allowed seven pressures in the Super Bowl — a career-high, per PFF. He’s been exactly what the Chiefs have typically gotten from their left guard spot: a solid, strong blocker with some streaks of good play. Allegretti’s youth gives him the potential to grow into a legitimate starter, but he was selected in the seventh round for a reason.
He should obviously have the chance to defend his starting role at left guard, but the Chiefs cannot lock him in and call it good. An upgrade can absolutely be made.
My opinion: Create a legitimate competition for the starting left guard position.
A unique reserve/futures deal was handed out to veteran Bryan Witzmann — who has 936 snaps at left guard and 533 snaps at right guard in his four seasons of NFL play. He started 13 games for the Chiefs at left guard in 2017, then seven starts on the right for the Chicago Bears the next season. This past year, he spent his time going back and forth from the Chiefs’ practice squad to the active roster — but never appeared in a game.
It’s hard to see the 31-year-old Witzmann even making it to training camp. He was a sensible, veteran depth option as the Chiefs’ line was banged up towards the end of 2020, but they’ll have enough reinforcements to make Witzmann expendable.
My opinion: Cut.
Martinas Rankin and/or Yasir Durant
The Chiefs want both of these players as tackles, but they both have filled in at guard for Kansas City in their young careers. Rankin took 271 snaps at left guard while starting five games in the middle of the Chiefs’ 2019 season. He also took 110 total snaps at left guard his rookie season in Houston.
The 2020 rookie Durant got two snaps at right guard in an early-season game, then took all 53 offensive snaps at right guard in Week 17.
It’s good to know these players can help at guard, but they should continue to be developed as tackles primarily.
My opinion: Develop as offensive tackles primarily.
Who they could sign
It makes sense for the Chiefs to tender restricted free agent Andrew Wylie and have him compete for both guard positions. I would be in favor of re-signing Kelechi Osemele as well.
Other external guards that could compete for a starting position are: New England Patriots’ Joe Thuney, Los Angeles Chargers’ Trai Turner and Las Vegas Raiders’ Gabe Jackson.
Who they could draft
Some of the center options I wrote about could be drafted as guards as well. In the first round, USC’s Alijah Verah-Tucker is a dream — but would need to be picked much earlier than 31. Ohio State’s Wyatt Davis could be considered in that range for Kansas City’s first pick too.
Options for the Chiefs to draft later include Grambling’s David Moore, South Carolina’s Sadarius Hutcherson, Texas Tech’s Jack Anderson or Pittsburgh’s Bryce Hargrove.
What will happen at offensive guard for the Chiefs in 2021?
This poll is closed
Nick Allegretti at OG, Laurent Duvernay-Tardif won’t start
Laurent Duvernay-Tardif at OG, Allegretti won’t start
Allegretti will start at LG, Laurent Duvernay-Tardif at RG
Neither player will start along the offensive line
Allegretti at C, Laurent Duvernay-Tardif at OG
None of these scenarios fit what I think will happen