Nick Jacobs: Options for Chiefs to improve interior offensive line

Titans Packers Football
Posted at 11:09 PM, Mar 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-15 12:32:47-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Chiefs are undertaking a significant rebuild of their offensive line after the releases of Eric Fisher and Mitchell Schwartz.

Center Austin Reiter, who started most of 2020 for the Chiefs, also is expected to hit free agency, according to NFL Network.

The image of Patrick Mahomes constantly scrambling after the offensive line allowed pressure, especially during a Super Bowl LV loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, clearly left an impression.

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The Chiefs might already have their potential starting guards in house, but additional free-agent options at guard are listed below. As for center, the Chiefs have a major need and there is a quick drop off after the top two on the market:


LG Joe Thuney, New England
Height: 6-5 Weight: 308 Age: 28

Thuney will likely be the best guard on most teams' free-agent boards. He is the most polished of the free agents available, has good hands, good technique and a solid pull.

Thuney gets into space well and is always looking for a defender to hit. He doesn't give up on the play and always continues to work. He rarely gets walked back to the quarterback and maintains pocket for the quarterback.

Thuney also shows solid double teams with the speed to get to the second level quickly.

RG Kevin Zeitler, Baltimore
Height: 6-4 Weight: 315 Age: 31

Zeitler still has really good athletic ability on reach blocks, pulls and getting to the second level. He struggles to knock defenders off the ball but understands the angles and how to wall them off.

He can pick up games, twists and stunts and completely lock them down from gaining penetration. He also understands how to widen to defender but has issues at times when the defender can dip and rip through.

Some team will pay for Zeitler's athletic ability, but don't expect power from him as a run-blocker.

RG Alex Redmond, Cincinnati
Height: 6-5 Weight: 320 Age: 26

Redmond has quick feet, a solid pull and quick reach to go with it. He is athletic enough to get out into space and lock up with a defender, but also does a solid job in pass protection.

Redmond doesn't get put on skates often and is able to hold his own in pass protection. He can adjust quickly when picking up and passing off.

Redmond also doesn't give up on a block. He will keep working to find the angle to get the best leverage on a defender.

RG Kyle Long, free agent
Height: 6-6 Weight: 332 Age: 32

Long is reportedly returning from retirement and plans to visit Las Vegas and Kansas City.

The time away actually might he helped his body heal up and potentially allowed him to come back fresh. Offensive lineman tend to wear down and become sluggish in the seven- to eight-year range of their NFL career.

Based on Long's 2019 coaches film, that seemed to be the case for him. He remained a serviceable right guard who could drive defenders out on the way on the second level, but maintained more at the line of scrimmage on run blocks.

For the most, Long part he was able to widen defenders in pass protection, but he did have trouble at times when a defender got a head start at bull rushing and driving him back.

Overall, Long had good awareness at picking up and passing off games and stunts.

RG Gabe Jackson, Las Vegas
Height: 6-3, Weight: 335, Age: 29

Jackson isn't the exact prototype of a Chiefs guard. He is more of a power run blocker.

Jackson has strong hands to lock onto defenders and a solid punch to go with it. He isn't going to give up a ton of ground on bull rushes because of his anchor, but he can be a bit lumbering getting to the second level on reach blocks.

Still, he can knock defenders off on double teams and wants to bury opponents in the dirt, so Jackson would bring more attitude to the interior of the Chiefs' offensive line


Corey Linsley, Green Bay
Height: 6-3 Weight: 301 Age: 29
Linsley is the best center on the market. He has lateral quickness that allows him to perform a reach block two gaps over and make it look effortless.

When Linsley gets his hands locked in or drops his anchor, the defender is stopped in his tracks. He also gets to the second level very quickly and goes head-hunting for defenders.

Linsley looks natural out in space on screens and getting downfield to make a block in open space.

He is worth every dollar he will command on the open market and would be a tremendous upgrade for the Chiefs at the center position, especially because his style is a natural fit for the Chiefs' offense.

David Andrews, New England
Height: 6-3 Weight: 300 Age: 28

Andrews' best asset is his center of gravity. He can hold the center of the pocket in place with his anchor and doesn't get walked back by nose tackles on pass rushes.

He can hold them off at the line of scrimmage, but he also has the power to drive a nose tackle back by himself. He is solid on double teams and has good athletic ability on reach blocks and working down the line of scrimmage.

Matt Skura, Baltimore
Height: 6-3 Weight: 313 Age: 28
Skura isn't going to be the most athletic offensive lineman on pulls, but he can knock some defenders off the ball. He is good at driving defenders off the ball on double teams and moving them down the line of scrimmage one on one.

He can be a little slow at times off the ball, allowing defenders to rip through on his outside shoulder, and needs to improve at widening the defender when that happens.

Overall, Skura is a serviceable center who can shine in combo blocks and short-yardage run game.