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Wanya Morris makes it clear he can play either offensive tackle spot

The Chiefs’ rookie offensive tackle had no hesitation when asked about the swing tackle role.

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COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 23 Oklahoma at Kansas Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Kansas City Chiefs revamped their offensive tackle position this offseason by signing two veterans to free-agent contracts. Jawaan Taylor was first, earning a four-year deal after exclusively playing right tackle for the Jacksonville Jaguars. The second acquisition was Donovan Smith, an eight-year veteran who has only played left tackle throughout his career.

Those are the projected starters, slated to play on the side they always have — but what if one goes down to injury? Instead of changing two positions, it would be ideal for a reserve lineman to be able to fill in for either side.

It’s called the “swing tackle,” and a strong candidate for the role is rookie offensive tackle Wanya Morris. He was taken in the third round of the 2023 NFL Draft. He played 660 snaps at right tackle in college, and he also had 1,029 snaps at left tackle.

Morris showed no hesitation in his first opportunity to address his ability to do this. He was asked how he felt about flipping from one side to the other during his availability to the media on Wednesday.

“I’m very comfortable,” Morris responded confidently. “I’m doing whatever coach asks me to do. I just feel like there is no difference when I change sides, and whatever coach needs me to do, I’ll do.”

NCAA Football: Senior Bowl Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

It’s a very confident mindset to have because there is a difference between the positions. You’re doing all of the same movements with the opposite arm or leg, which doesn’t come as easy to others as it sounds like it does for Morris. He then doubled down on his confidence, pointing out the toughest part of the role for him: simply remembering which side he was on for that play.

“When you get tired, make sure you know that you’re on the right or left side,” Morris explained. “Be able to switch like that from doing it so much. Stay on cue.”

Morris may make the swing-tackle spot sound easy, but he didn’t undersell the first day of an NFL training camp. On Wednesday, the players that have reported went through practice.

It’s only the precursor of the real thing, and Morris knew that.

“It’s going to be hell,” Morris laughed, speaking about Andy Reid’s notoriously vigorous training camp. “That’s what they told me, but you have to take that on the chin. It’s going to be hard, and if it was easy, everyone would do it. I’m just here to work.”

There was nothing but joy on Morris’ face as he talked about the difficult camp he has coming up. It’s clear that Morris is a fun-loving, positive guy — and that extends to his play on the field.

“We’re in the trenches; I hit people for fun,” Morris chuckled. “So I’m very excited to get out here and work with these guys. There is great talent out here. Each day, getting better, that’s all I’m worried about.”

He has already built a special connection with a fellow rookie: defensive end Felix Anudike-Uzomah. The edge rusher from Kansas State matched up with the tackle from Oklahoma multiple times over the years, and both parties remember the games.

As Anudike-Uzomah passed the media tent, Morris had to call it out.

“My first impression of Felix is we don’t like K-State,” Morris mocked.

After a laugh, Anudike-Uzomah responded by asking what happened between the two schools in 2022.

“What happened the year before that?” Morris responded.

The Sooners did win in 2021, but Anudike-Uzomah remembers earning a sack when rushing against Morris that game.

“No, you didn’t! No, you didn’t!” Morris denied.

Whether or not one player has bragging rights from college, the friendly rivalry bleeds into the work against each other on the practice field.

“That’s my guy; we go to work every day,” reflected Morris. “Competing is what we do, and to be able to have that friendship that we have, it just fuels us more, to go harder in practice. He gets me, I get him, it’s a constant fight.”

“I’m a fun trash talker. I’m not going to be disrespectful. I’m going to make sure you work, I’m going to make sure you compete. That’s what I like to do. Competing is the best thing you can do. It’s the epitome of everything... it’s a team sport. You have to compete with other people to get better.”

If there was any position that needs this mindset, it’s a lineman.

They will spend the next month or so firing out against each other and pushing each other to all kinds of limits, but they will be teammates at the end of the day. The harder each pushes, the better the other will get.

Morris is passing all the tests for having that team mentality so far, including the confidence to play anywhere along the line.

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