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Ranking 5 possible offensive line combinations for the 2021 Chiefs

Which five-man front inspires the most confidence for the upcoming season?

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After the initial wave of free agency signings, the Kansas City Chiefs have only one position group that has seen any sort of makeover: the offensive line.

It started with the releases of both Eric Fisher and Mitchell Schwartz. When the legal tampering period began, the Chiefs quickly locked up free agent Joe Thuney. They also signed the formerly retired Kyle Long before re-signing two familiar faces: Mike Remmers and Andrew Wylie. On top of all that, two players are expected to re-join the team after opting out of the 2020 season: Laurent Duvernay-Tardif and Lucas Niang.

It seems very unlikely at this point that Week 1’s starting five for 2021 will have any repeats from 2020. Last year, it lined up with Fisher at left tackle, Kelechi Osemele at left guard, Austin Reiter at center, Wylie at right guard and Schwartz at right tackle.

Considering four of those players are no longer with the team (although there is talk of the Chiefs wanting to re-sign Reiter) we are most likely seeing an entirely different unit when the team takes the field in September. I ranked five possible combinations from my most preferred to the one that worries me the most.

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Combination 1

Left tackle: Veteran signed to a one-year deal

Left guard: Joe Thuney

Center: Nick Allegretti

Right guard: Laurent Duvernay-Tardif

Right tackle: Kyle Long

Pros: The offensive tackle positions are occupied by veteran players. A free agent tackle like Russell Okung, Allejandro Villanueva or Ricky Wagner isn’t the most exciting solution, but it’s better than starting a rookie. Thuney stays at his All-Pro position, while there’s at least some level of continuity at the other interior positions.

Cons: Long hasn’t played right tackle since 2015. On top of that, the right side as a whole didn’t play football in 2020. Allegretti has no regular-season experience at center. Whoever the veteran left tackle is, he will be a downgrade from Eric Fisher.

Combination 2

Left tackle: Lucas Niang

Left guard: Joe Thuney

Center: Nick Allegretti

Right guard: Kyle Long

Right tackle: Mike Remmers

Pros: A veteran left guard can help Niang in his first NFL experience. Both guard positions are filled by high-level talents. Center and right tackle have some level of continuity.

Cons: Duvernay-Tardif is either benched or released; he has a no-trade clause. One way or another, there is money being wasted on him. The starting left tackle would be taking his first snaps as an NFL player and hasn’t played football since October 2019. Niang combined with the 32-year-old Remmers is an uninspiring tackle duo.

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Combination 3

Left tackle: Joe Thuney

Left guard: Mike Remmers

Center: Draft Pick

Right guard: Kyle Long

Right tackle: Lucas Niang

Pros: Left tackle is occupied by a veteran player that should be able to give above-average play at a minimum. The inexperience at center is supplemented by veteran guards. Niang is able to play the position he played in college with a veteran guard next to him who has played right tackle himself.

Cons: Thuney has only played nine snaps as an offensive tackle in the NFL, and this will remove him from his All-Pro position. Niang’s inexperience as an NFL player is concerning. Remmers has a low, defined ceiling as a starter.

Combination 4

Left tackle: Martinas Rankin

Left guard: Kyle Long

Center: Joe Thuney

Right guard: Laurent Duvernay-Tardif

Right tackle: Mike Remmers

Pros: While Rankin doesn’t have extensive NFL experience, he has played left tackle for 337 total snaps over his three-year NFL career. He and Long have started at those positions before. Thuney has NFL experience as a center and would likely be the most impactful center Patrick Mahomes has had in his career. The right side of the line has experience.

Cons: Rankin started every snap at left tackle in the 2020 Week 17 game but hasn’t played outside of that since his knee injury midway through 2019. Thuney is removed from his All-Pro position.

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Combination 5

Left tackle: High draft pick

Left guard: Joe Thuney

Center: Nick Allegretti

Right guard: Kyle Long

Right tackle: Mike Remmers

Pros: A veteran left guard can help a rookie left tackle. Both guard positions are filled by high-level talents. There’s continuity with Remmers at right tackle.

Cons: Starting a rookie left tackle is nowhere near an ideal scenario for a Super Bowl-contending team. The right side of the line is aged.

Poll

Which offensive line combination do you like best?

This poll is closed

  • 33%
    Combination 1
    (999 votes)
  • 12%
    Combination 2
    (379 votes)
  • 8%
    Combination 3
    (240 votes)
  • 8%
    Combination 4
    (262 votes)
  • 36%
    Combination 5
    (1104 votes)
2984 votes total Vote Now