Here we go with Offensive Guard…(Please try to refrain from staggering off topic, and remember this thread is about how we can go about improving this position group, not other position groups)
I think we can all agree that O-line is one of our biggest needs this offseason. I’ve mentioned before that our O-line is starting to take shape, but is still a player or two away from being considered solid. Last years draft addition Rodney Hudson seems primed to take over for the old aged vet in Casey Wieggmann as an easy transition, and 2010’s 3rd round addition of Jon Asamoah has taken the right guard position over by storm. The last of the 3 interior line positions could use an upgrade from the over aged and undersized Ryan Lilja, I like Lilja, but when you see a player with grey hair on the sidelines, it’s safe to say he’s past his prime years in the NFL.
Now we might look to fill the position with a high draft choice, or we could look to a younger top-level free agent, to be the general of the interior of our line, hoping to get 4-5 years of production, while drafting a mid-round talent for developmental purposes.
So here’s for the Free Agent prospects:
Ben Grubbs (BAL) (6’3” 310)-
Might likely be re-signed by Baltimore before any other teams have a chance, but has remained stable at his LG position despite having moving pieces next to him at LT since he has been there. Was originally drafted by the Ravens in the 1st round (29th overall) in the 2007 NFL Draft out of Auburn, and has remained at the LG position his entire career. Has the attitude Pioli will look for coming from Baltimore and although has been hampered by a toe injury this year missing a handful of games has 69 starts in 73 career games (only 27 years old). One of the top FA OG’s this offseason it may cause the Chiefs to get into a bidding war to obtain his services, but with the talk from Pioli taking the blame fore the lack of depth and being 33 mil under the cap, I think we can expect to see lots of action in Free Agency this offseason, with Pioli fearing his job depends on next seasons success.
Carl Nicks (NO) (6’5” 343lbs)-
A HUGE man that could really help the interior push of our O-line and may actually be more likely to land on another team besides his current one due to the fact that the Saints recently gave big money to their other star OG Jahari Evans and might not have the ability to round up the cash to keep him in black and gold. Entered the NFL as a 5th round draft pick out of Nebraska by the Saints has 60 starts in 63 career games at only 26 years old. This will be his big payday, vs Grubbs already making his money as a 1st round pick. Has proven decent in pass protection due to his current offensive system with the Saints and is big enough that I would imagine should have no problem establishing the run as well. The one downer I saw was that I saw he was known as a slacker and troublemaker at Nebraska, but has since changed his ways as he has matured returning to Nebraska in 2010 to apologize to coach Bo Pelini for his behavior while there.
If the Chiefs opt to target one of these impact FA’s to man the LG position, The need for and OG in the draft is pushed back into possibly the 4th-7th rounds, and they can focus on RT, NT, ILB, Etc in round 1
(When looking at prospects I always take into consideration what Pioli seems to look for: Good Character, Possibly team captains/leaders, Hard workers on and off field, and a passion or love for the game) Feel free to add to this list if I missed anyone you feel should be added. Thanks!)
(rJr.) Stanford (6’5” 312lbs)-
Potentially the top interior line prospect in this years class, and may likely be available when the Chiefs select in the middle part of the draft. Solid in both pass protection and run blocking on the move; was a big part of keeping Andrew Luck’s backside clean since starting every game of his college career since 2009 (redshirted in 2008). Known for his work ethic, great character, durability, versatility, and hard work on the practice field could see fitting in well in Pioli’s “Right 53” Also Chose Stanford for its academic standards, so has the smarts to control the line.
DeCastro could easily take over for Lilja, and now put our remaining focus to our RT in a later round.
From CBS Sports.com: “It seems as though Stanford runs behind a pulling DeCastro on three out of four run plays because his prowess as a blocker on the move is impressive. Although he is not an elite athlete, the Washington native simply does get not beaten in pass protection, either. Sound technique, excellent toughness, and intelligence are all traits scouts look for in a first-round interior offensive line prospect--and DeCastro has them all in spades.”
Note: Cordy Glen (6’5” 348lbs) is another OG prospect out of Georgia, projected as a 1st round guy. I did not include him due to reports laziness. He is versatile playing both OG and LT, and stayed in school this year to transition to LT with hopes of being drafted to play this position. Weight and speed may project him as an OT.
(Sr.) Wisconsin (6’4” 318lbs) (Projected late 2nd -3rd)-
A dependable, no-nonsense 3 year starter at RG for the Badgers, appeared in 3 games as a true freshman (played in a reserve role first 4 games of 09’ due to injury). Is considered a hard worker on the field and in the weight room winning the “Badger Power Award” in 2010. Is being compared to Wisconsin’s 2011 3rd round pick John Moffit, as both are considered to have the size, tenacity, and mobility to play for a long time in the NFL. From In most mock drafts Zeitler has been projected 41% of the time to the Steelers (29%) and Ravens (12%) late in the 2nd round, With Clark hunt wanting to mimic franchises such as the Steelers and Packers, you have to think that if this looks like a guy that could end up in Pittsburgh, he’s just as likely to end up in KC.
From CBSSports.com: “Although he is not as large as Moffit, his lower center of gravity, agility as a pass proector, and consistency hitting targets in space could earn him a higher grade from some teams.”
(Sr.) Washington (6’3” 302lbs) –
A versatile Sr. prospect who started his college career as a D-lineman. Played in 8 of 12 games his true freshman season as a defensive tackle, and made the switch in 2009 to start 11 of 12 games at RG. Transitioned again in 2010 to start all 13 games in 2010 as the Huskies LT, and remained at this position for the rest of his college career (2011). A hard worker who won the teams offensive lineman weight room honor in 2010 and plays up to his weight room numbers, strong hands, aggressive run block, and a passion for the game (which Pioli loves). Although playing LT for the past two seasons is projected better as an OG in the NFL due to his lack of footwork and size to take on edge rushers in the NFL.
(Sr.) Clemson (6’5” 335lbs)-
The main draw to McClain is his size, which could be considered a downside that may lead to endurance. Is considered a mauling interior lineman that posses “next-level” size and strength strong hands and a solid punch. McClain would be looked at as a “project” if we were to look at filling our OG position through FA or rounds 1-2.