There has already been much analysis and discussion of our first look at the new Chiefs offensive line. And rightly so--this unit is critical to the team’s success this season. So far, this discussion has focused on how the unit performed against the Browns. And deservedly, there have been mixed reviews. However, it seems best to view this performance in the context of personnel decisions the Chiefs made to sign or draft certain players rather than others during the offseason.
Let’s jump into the time machine and recall the debates from the offseason about who the Chiefs should have drafted, signed, and started at offensive tackle. Brett Veach’s first choice at left tackle was Trent Williams, who had the best offensive performance of any lineman in Week 1. This validates Veach’s decision to pursue Williams so aggressively last offseason. After losing out on the Williams sweepstakes, many argued the Chiefs should draft a tackle. Others supported signing Alejandro Villanueva, who seemed like the top, free-agent tackle at the time. Instead, Veach traded for Orlando Brown.
Alejandro Villanueva and Alex Leatherwood
So how did Brown perform compared to other options in Week 1? Tackles that could have been drafted with the Chiefs first-round pick rather than trading it for Orlando Brown? The Monday night match between the Raiders and Ravens provided an excellent opportunity to analyze the play of Villanueva and Alex Leatherwood, the latter being the lineman many we’re calling on the Chiefs to draft in the first round. Both players performed appallingly in this game, giving up consistent QB pressures and getting penalties. And both players were at RIGHT tackle! Can you imagine if either player had been at left tackle for the Chiefs against the Browns on Sunday?
Tevin Jenkins and Samuel Cosmi
Tevin Jenkins and Samuel Cosmi were the two other tackles most talked about in the draft, and whom many pundits had marked down for the Chiefs to pick in the first round. Jenkins never saw the field in Week 1 because he had back surgery before the start of the season. (Kansas City is familiar with how well offensive lineman perform after beginning to have back problems.) Meanwhile, Cosmi started at right tackle for the Washington Football Team in their week 1 matchup against the Chargers, and he performed well. According to PFF, he earned an 81 rating. Let’s give a shout out to John Dixon for projecting Cosmi as the best tackle option in the draft for the Chiefs when he wrote his Offensive Line Projection back in April.
The Bottom Line
Since among these options only Trent Williams and Orlando Brown started at left tackle in Week 1, it proves that Veach was justified in ranking these two tackles at #1 and #2. Furthermore, it demonstrates that Orlando Brown and Lucas Niang, however inconsistent their play might have been against an excellent Browns defensive line, were superior to the poor play we witnessed on Monday night. Cosmi performed well but, for the Chiefs first-round pick, would you rather have Cosmi at right tackle or Orlando Brown at left tackle? Given this context, Brett Veach and Andy Reid made the right moves on the offensive line.