Reloading for another Super Bowl run has been the priority for the Kansas City Chiefs this offseason. Head coach Andy Reid and general manager Brett Veach have been active in their efforts to erase the memory of last season’s defeat at the hands of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Questions remain, though, whether or not they’ve done enough to fortify Patrick Mahomes‘s offensive line or bolster a suspect secondary.
Here are some of the main questions facing the Chiefs in May.
Is the offensive line strong enough to protect Mahomes?
True. Protecting the franchise is what the Chiefs couldn’t do in Super Bowl LV after injuries left Mahomes at the mercy of the ferocious Tampa Bay pass rush. The Chiefs have since been busy solidifying things in front of their star quarterback. Reid and Veach took an approach not unlike the one the New Orleans Saints used for years to protect Drew Brees. Namely, they built from the inside out, adding guards Joe Thuney and Kyle Long, along with center Austin Blythe, during free agency.
Securing the interior will make things easier on those on the edges to win their one-on-one matchups. Trading for Orlando Brown doesn’t hurt, either. Brown is a powerhouse pass-rushers don’t get around easily. He’s been yearning to play left tackle and his desire to repay the Chiefs for giving him the chance will mean good things for Mahomes.
Is there enough help in place for Frank Clark?
False. Clark is going to be a busy man during the 2021 NFL season. He’s not only the primary pass-rush weapon on Steve Spagnuolo’s defense. Clark is the sole stud edge-rusher along the Kansas City front seven. Taco Charlton and unheralded youngsters Mike Danna, Austin Edwards, and Demone Harris are unlikely to get it done. The Chiefs will feel the loss of Tanoh Kpassagnon, who joined the Saints during free agency.
With so many question marks on the edges, it’s rather surprising Reid and Veach didn’t pay more attention to the area in the draft. All they did was select Joshua Kaindoh out of Florida State in Round 4. There’s plenty of upside to Kaindoh, a 6-foot-6, 260-pound physical specimen, but he’s also still a reach after logging just eight sacks during four years with Seminoles.
Would moving Chris Jones to defensive end solve the pass-rush problem?
True. There’s one easy way for the Chiefs to solve their problems in the pass-rush department and provide Clark with a natural bookend. Simply kick defensive tackle Jones out to end. His presence might be missed inside, but that loss will be mitigated somewhat by the arrival of Jarran Reed from the Seattle Seahawks.
Reed is a three-down interior playmaker who can absorb double teams and clog running lanes, as well as rush the passer. Pairing Reed with the underrated and steadily improving Khalen Saunders would ensure the Chiefs’ defense stays strong in the middle. Jones would then be free to move his 310 pounds and quick first step to the outside and over right tackles. This would be a physical mismatch Spagnuolo and the Chiefs could exploit every week.
Will the Chiefs answers be rewarded for taking risks at cornerback?
False. The Chiefs are developing a nasty habit of collecting other people’s draft busts. They added Mike Hughes after a low-key trade with the Minnesota Vikings on Thursday. Hughes struggled to live up to his draft status as the Vikings’ first-round pick in 2018. He’s not alone in that regard in the Kansas City cornerback room. Deandre Baker, a first-rounder in 2019, is also on the roster after injuries, inconsistency, and off-field issues wrecked his career with the New York Giants.
Veach and Reid appear content to roll the dice on reclamation projects at a key position in Spagnuolo’s defense. There is some potential within the group, including L’Jarius Sneed and Charvarius Ward. Even so, it’s still tough to believe the Chiefs have the depth and talent to resist Justin Herbert and Derek Carr in the AFC West.
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