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Chiefs rookie breakdown: Creed Humphrey

For the second installment of this series, let’s look at how the Chiefs’ newest center can make an impact.

NCAA Football: College Football Playoff Semifinal-Oklahoma vs Louisiana State Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Now that the Kansas City Chiefs’ 2021 draft process is complete, it’s time to start evaluating how each player fits into the team’s scheme, how they’ll factor into the 2021 depth chart, and how they project to contribute in the long term. I continue with 2021’s 63rd overall selection: Oklahoma center Creed Humphrey.

Team fit

After redshirting during his first year at Oklahoma, Humphrey was the primary starter at center for each of his three college seasons; his durability allowed him to finish with 36 consecutive starts at center.

In college, Humphrey displayed impressive feet and overall movement skills in both run and pass blocking. In the running game, he gets to the defense’s second level quickly; he is very comfortable pulling or leading on screens — and constantly makes reaching defensive linemen on stretch zone plays look easy.

After reaching a defensive lineman, the way Humphrey is able to quickly and effectively swing his hips around makes him an ideal fit for teams (like the Chiefs) that run outside zone plays.

But he could add some weight to help him anchor down and stand his ground on first contact. While his strong technique often allows him to eventually recover and secure his block after a defender’s initial surge, he sometimes seems to struggle in these situations — especially when facing heavier defensive tackles. Additional weight would help him there.

Humphrey absolutely fits the Chiefs’ offense. His great athleticism should work well for zone runs and in the screen game, while his pass-protection struggles could be covered up by the talented guards who will be alongside him.

How he factors into the 2021 depth chart

NCAA Football: Big 12 Championship-Baylor vs Oklahoma Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Humphrey has a great chance to earn the starting role at center — but the position won’t simply be handed to him.

This offseason, the Chiefs acquired former Los Angeles Rams starting center Austin Blythe. He and Humphrey will likely be in a head-to-head competition that will have them decisively ahead of third-year player Nick Allegretti and 2020 undrafted free agent Darryl Williams. On multiple occasions, the team had mentioned guard Joe Thuney as a potential candidate at center — but Humphrey’s selection likely erases that possibility — except in an emergency.

I believe Humphrey’s skill set will lead him to emerge over Blythe by Week 1. If not, Humphrey should be able to provide depth at each interior offensive line position — even though he has played nothing but center since high school.

Long-term outlook

Iowa State v Oklahoma Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images

Humphrey’s strong fit with the Chiefs projects him to be their starting center through the end of his rookie contract — and maybe beyond. Historically, the Chiefs have found second-round gems at center. 2011 second-rounder Rodney Hudson is a three-time Pro Bowl center. 2015 second-round pick Mitch Morse became an immediate starter — and a crucial piece of the Chiefs’ line during his four seasons in Kansas City.

So we can expect Humphrey to become a strong starter. Even if Blythe proves to be a better option in 2021, he’s signed only to a one-year deal. Humphrey is clearly the future at center — and there’s reason to believe he can excel in the Chiefs’ offense.

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