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.
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.
The biggest reason Creed Humphrey (#56) fits into the #Chiefs' offense is his movement ability. Great feet and use of leverage; he makes reaching a DL on outside stretch runs look way easier than it is. Here's a cut up from a few games: pic.twitter.com/IZ1AGOBmEa— Ron Kopp Jr. (@Ron_Kopp) May 7, 2021
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.
He's such a technically sound player, but his lack of an anchor can get him stood up or pushed back on initial engagement -- especially against heavier DTs. Fortunately, his good technique often allows him to recover and still secure the block. pic.twitter.com/9UKEMqE2OU— Ron Kopp Jr. (@Ron_Kopp) May 7, 2021
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
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.
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.