Round 1: No. 31 overall — Alijah Vera-Tucker, OL, USC
Round 2: No. 63 overall — Quinn Meinerz, OL, Wisconsin-Whitewater
Kansas City released both of its starting tackles this offseason before signing guard Joe Thuney and bringing in former Bears guard Kyle Long after he spent a year out of the game. Both tackle spots are still up for grabs, though, so finding an intelligent, sturdy starter in Vera-Tucker (who also has experience at guard) would be great. The Chiefs signed former Rams starter Austin Blythe to a modest one-year deal, so I’m guessing that won’t prevent them from drafting another pivot. Meinerz was a guard at Division-III Wisconsin-Whitewater but has been working on his snapping to earn a job at center. The versatility offered by Vera-Tucker and Meinerz will come in handy if injuries beset the line again next fall.
Kansas City Chiefs: Offensive Tackles
The Chiefs cut starting offensive tackles Eric Fisher and Mitchell Schwartz this offseason and have yet to replace them. The team did vastly improve the interior of the offensive line by signing Joe Thuney, Kyle Long, and Austin Blythe, but the edges will need addressing to protect star Patrick Mahomes.
One of the biggest knocks on Derek Carr over his career is that he couldn’t win in Kansas City. Prior to last season, he was 0-6 at Arrowhead Stadium. Now that he finally got a win under his belt, he’s feeling a bit more comfortable throwing some shade. The quarterback was recently asked to be a guest speaker at ChurchLV in Las Vegas. Even at church, he took the opportunity to troll a Chiefs fan.
“I cannot put into words how honored I am to join the VANBROS family and Miss Kansas USA legacy & represent the amazing state of Kansas!” Gracie Hunt wrote in an Instagram post. “Thank you to everyone who believed in me and to God for making my prayers a reality. I hope to make everyone proud through the next part of my journey. And so the adventure begins...”
Around the NFL
The Browns also pursued Clowney last offseason, but the three-time Pro Bowler reportedly rejected Cleveland’s multiyear contract offer and ultimately signed a one-year, $13 million deal with the Tennessee Titans.
Clowney, 28, struggled in 2020 with Tennessee, finishing with 19 tackles and zero sacks in eight games before suffering a season-ending knee injury in November. He had surgery in December and is expected to be at full health for the start of the 2021 season.
In a report from The Athletic on what transpired during the Eagles’ final years with Pederson, the Eagles head coach faced unwarranted scrutiny just months after guiding the franchise to its first Super Bowl title.
“[Pederson] was ridiculed and criticized for every decision,” a source told The Athletic. “If you won by three, it wasn’t enough. If you lost on a last-second field goal, you’re the worst coach in history.”
“By any measure of what constitutes an elite NFL career — wins, championships, production — Julian has it all,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said in a statement from the team. “Few players can match Julian’s achievements, period, but considering his professional trajectory and longevity, the group is even more select. It is historic. This is a tribute to his legendary competitiveness, mental and physical toughness and will to excel.
“Day in and day out, Julian was always the same: all out. Then, in the biggest games and moments, with championships at stake, he reached even greater heights and delivered some of his best, most thrilling performances. For all Julian did for our team, what I may appreciate the most is he was the quintessential throwback player. He could, and did, do everything — catch, run, throw, block, return, cover and tackle — all with an edge and attitude that would not allow him to fail under any circumstance. Julian Edelman is the ultimate competitor and it was a privilege to coach him.”
In case you missed it at Arrowhead Pride
How he fits in Kansas City: Several NFL teams will wonder whether Stevens will play safety at the next level or as a coverage linebacker — as he did at the Senior Bowl this year. Spagnuolo and the Chiefs are one of the defenses multiple enough to maximize him at both positions.
Stevens could immediately step into the dime linebacker role, replacing Ben Niemann and upgrading the Chiefs’ coverage ability in their dime defense. He is a surprisingly good run defender and blitzer as well, allowing the Chiefs to be multiple on defense without changing personnel. Stevens’ contributions in the dime could transfer to base downs, replacing Dan Sorensen if the Chiefs decided not to re-sign the veteran safety after the 2021 season.
Stevens’ ability to move between deep safety, linebacker and an off-the-edge blitzer could help to unlock some of Spagnuolo’s defensive packages. The Chiefs defense has maximized “chess piece” players in recent history — and adding another could make life even more difficult on opposing offenses.
A tweet to make you think
Demarcus Robinson has been active for all 90 of the Chiefs regular season games since he was drafted in 2016. That's rare durability and availability right there.— Mike Clay (@MikeClayNFL) April 12, 2021
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