The Kansas City Chiefs are gearing up to defend yet another Super Bowl title. This offseason started off rough as they lost the talents of Orlando Brown and Andrew Wylie on the offensive line. They also lost Mecole Hardman and JuJu Smith-Schuster which will potentially hurt the offense. However, Kansas City has once again found a way to reload its roster for 2023.
KC signed Jawaan Taylor to a big deal to secure the right tackle position. They also brought back Jerick McKinnon to maintain one of their most productive pieces. So how else could the Chiefs have reloaded? They have signed offensive tackle Donovan Smith who spent eight seasons in Tampa Bay. Let’s discuss the newly acquired Kansas City Chief.
Who Is Donovan Smith?
The former Tampa Bay Buccaneer comes to KC on a one-year deal worth up to $9 million. Drafted 34th overall in the 2015 draft, he became an instant starter for the Bucs. Smith started 124 games at left tackle for Tampa and was a big help in their Super Bowl 55 victory. Smith has logged over 9,000 total snaps at left tackle in his career.
Smiths best season was the 2021 campaign where he finished with the sixth-best Pro Football Focus pass-blocking grade in the NFL (among tackles). He totaled 1,147 snaps at left tackle that season and surrendered just one sack on 784 pass-blocking snaps. Smith is a work horse that can be an elite veteran on the Chiefs offensive line.
However, 2022 was not an ideal season for Smith. He finished with a 78.3% pass rush win rate and a run block win rate of 64.9%. He also missed four games with elbow and foot injuries. Despite the disappointing 2022 season, he still logged 908 snaps at left tackle in only 13 games.
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Donovan Smiths Role With The Chiefs
Ideally, Smith would slide into the starting left tackle role. However, the Chiefs have other options like Wanya Morris (drafted in round three this year), Lucas Niang, Prince Tega Wanogho, and Darian Kinnard, a fifth-round pick last year. Having options at tackle is something the Chiefs wanted and now they have it.
Smith obviously is more experienced than all of the other options KC has. That should put him as the starter barring any setbacks. As I said before, he struggled in 2022 but outside of that, he has been one of the best tackles in the NFL for awhile now. Protecting Patrick Mahomes’ blindside is a tall task but Smith protected Brady for a couple of years so I think he is up for the job.
Plugging in Smith is the final piece of the Chiefs rebuild of their offensive line. This is the second time in three seasons where KC has had to rebuild the o-line. While Smith might not be at the “Pro Bowl” caliber of Orlando Brown, he will be an elite lineman in 2023. Getting veteran pieces for the o-line seems to be all the rage for teams needing help up front. Once again, the Chiefs complete their 2023 front line guys to protect Mahomes.