Ahead of 2022, we’re previewing the Chiefs roster. In this iteration, we’re previewing the offensive line and running back room.
With training camp officially underway and the eventual 53-man roster beginning to take shape, the Chiefs will soon know what the re-made offense under Andy Reid will look like. There has been plenty of change in a busy offseason for Kansas City, but with the trio at the top — Brett Veach, Andy Reid, and Patrick Mahomes — the team is poised for yet another season that they should compete for a Super Bowl.
It’s hard to argue a team that has seen more success than Kansas City since Mahomes joined the offense as a starter in 2018. Even before that, the team has been rolling. The Chiefs currently own a league-high seven consecutive playoff appearances. They’ve won an AFC West record six consecutive division titles. Regarding the offense, the team has not ranked outside the top ten since 2016. Will their offensive dominance continue in 2022?
The Chiefs Offensive Line Stands To Dominate Again In 2022
After the team’s crushing defeat to Tom Brady and the Buccaneers in Super Bowl LV, the offensive line needed a complete rebuild. Not only did it get a total makeover in the offseason following the loss, but it also became one of the best and youngest groups in the entire NFL. With the additions of Joe Thuney and the 2021 Draft class, the Chiefs’ offensive line looks poised to dominate for years to come.
Chiefs projected Offensive Line entering 2022:
LT – Orlando Brown Jr.
LG – Joe Thuney
C – Creed Humphrey
RG – Trey Smith
RT – Andrew Wylie
Depth: Lucas Niang, Darian Kinnard, Austin Reiter, Nick Allegretti, Geron Christian, Prince Tega Wanogho
Much of the latest offseason news for the Chiefs has been characterized by Orlando Brown Jr’s franchise tag. The two sides have failed to reach an agreement on a contract extension and as a result, he has chosen to hold out of training camp. Even still, I expect Brown to arrive during the preseason and be ready to play Week One.
There isn’t much of a surprise here as outside of the right tackle position, much of the offensive line seems to be set in stone. On the right side, the Chiefs have a couple of options. After Lucas Niang was injured last season, the team turned instead to Andrew Wylie. I expect the same to happen to start this season. Niang was placed on the PUP list to start training camp, along with fellow tackle Prince Tega Wanogho.
Once Niang is back healthy, he likely still faces an uphill battle to earning starting reps along this offensive line. Rookie Darian Kinnard is the fan favorite to earn the starting right tackle position this season, but with Wylie’s experience in the offense, the fifth-year tackle will likely get the first chance to shore up the team’s offensive line in 2022.
The Chiefs Running Backs Don’t Feature A Lead Back; Or Do They?
It’s been a long time since the days of a feature back in Kansas City. For decades, it seemed like the Chiefs were a running back factory. From Priest Holmes to Jamaal Charles, and then Kareem Hunt, that legacy carried on into much of the past decade. However, since the departure of Hunt, the team has looked instead toward a committee of running backs.
We saw this again last season as no back on the roster exceeded even 200 rushing attempts. Darrel Williams led the team with 144 attempts and now plays for the Arizona Cardinals. The Chiefs have brought in new talent to shore up the running back room this season and I expect the blueprint of a running back “by committee” to continue for the offense.
Chiefs projected running backs entering 2022:
Ronald Jones II
With the departure of Williams, the Chiefs will have plenty of carries to offer new addition, Ronald Jones. However, I don’t expect Jones to fill the same role we saw from Williams last season. Edwards-Helaire is the most familiar with the Andy Reid offense, and history has shown us that it can take time for running backs to truly take off within the Reid offense.
Look for Edwards-Helaire to take on more of a lead-back role than we’ve seen from him in the past two seasons. Health will be the biggest factor, but if he can stay healthy, it should be expected that he encroaches on the 150 attempt mark that Williams nearly hit when leading the team last season. Even at 150 attempts, this should leave 110-120 attempts for Ronald Jones this season and another 60 or so split between Jerrick McKinnon and rookie Isaih Pacheco.
Despite the potential in Pacheco, it’s unlikely he sees a large role in 2022. The room is just too stacked ahead of him. It would take an injury or two for Pacheco to truly shine. Derrick Gore shined at times last season, but he’s already 27 and figures to be a candidate for release this preseason if he isn’t traded for additional depth elsewhere.
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What do you expect from the Chiefs running backs in 2022? Leave a comment down below to join the discussion.
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