Have the Chiefs found their new starting right tackle?
Despite being atop the AFC, the Kansas City Chiefs have had their struggles. These struggles have come from all around. However, particularly, the offensive tackle position.
Chiefs left tackle Orlando Brown Jr. hasn’t lived up to the payday he wants, despite only allowing 2 sacks this season. Meanwhile right tackle Andrew Wylie has really been the problem within the unit. Wylie before Sunday’s game has allowed the most sacks (6) among all right tackles. The Chiefs have undoubtedly looked for an answer. The answer may have come this past week against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Andrew Wylie left the game early and didn’t return after being forced out with a concussion Sunday. Wylie’s injury led to Kansas City calling upon third year tackle out of Auburn, Prince Tega Wanogho. Wanogho stepped up in a big way and played excellent.
While we hate to see any player come down with an injury, this may become a blessing in disguise for Kansas City. Despite recent struggles, Wylie is an experienced vet that has a lot to offer. Kansas City could fluctuate him around at different positions on the line when needed.
Coming into Sunday, Tega Wanogho’s PFF grade of 81.3 was the highest for any Chiefs offensive tackle. Even though that’s a very limited sample size with only 14 prior reps. The Jaguars pass rush led by Josh Allen and first overall pick Travon Walker only managed to hit Mahomes 4 times on Sunday. This says a lot about how well Wanogho meshed with the entire offensive line. This definitely brings up question on if Wanogho might be the team’s best option on the right side. Lucas Niang still also has a chance to prove himself. However, from what I saw Sunday, I believe PTW has earned his shot.
It’s important to know that the right tackle position is considered one of the top 3 most important positions among the offensive line. The notion of right tackles playing primarily as run blockers has changed with more teams relying on the passing game. Pass protectors on the right side must be able to move defenders off the ball while also displaying the agility and lateral quickness to shadow electric edge rushers. Although most teams will, at times, use a running back or tight end to help in protection, the position now requires better athletes and pass blockers. Tega Wanogho is a better athlete and fulfills the qualifications that is needed to play the right tackle position.
The background of Tega Wanogho’s athleticism goes back to when he was a 4-star recruit that was a basketball star and a top defensive end recruit. Tega Wanogho was born in Delta State, Nigeria and moved to the state of Alabama in 2014 in hopes of becoming a basketball player. He prepped at Edgewood Academy in Elmore, Alabama. He broke his leg playing basketball as a senior in high school, causing him to redshirt as a freshman at Auburn. Earned the starting left tackle role in 2018 as a senior and made first-team All-SEC as a redshirt senior. He was on Bruce Feldman’s Freaks List and didn’t play tackle until Auburn. Only played football to get into shape for basketball and soccer.
Tega Wanogho showed on Sunday he has a great build for a tackle with his 6-foot-5, 308 pound frame, and his athleticism popped off on the film from the get-go. He showed he was at his best blocking in the Chiefs zone scheme for Pacheco, getting out of his stance and taking good lateral angles to defenders. When he gets into space, he has no issues redirecting or leaning outside of his frame to connect on blocks and shows serious range on screens or as a puller.
In pass protection, Tega Wanogho showed the athleticism to make all the drops and mirror rushers which Wylie hasn’t done well at all year which shows why he’s allowed 6 sacks this season. When Tega Wanogho identifies power, he can sink his hips and anchor well. He uses his length to maintain leverage. For a raw player, he showcases a good variety of hand techniques to keep rushers off balance. He still is learning how to gather his hips and hands together and roll into contact at full speed. Before he came into the league, his footwork and hand placement are inconsistent and needed to improve for more consistent play. Now I feel after three seasons into the scheme, Tega Wanogho could be ready to seize this opportunity with Wylie out potentially and with Lucas Niang making progress to return.
Tega Wanogho has been a developmental tackle for three seasons with the Chiefs but has tremendous upside who is also incredibly smart. He was a four-year Academic All-SEC. He has picked up the position quickly and those three seasons have helped polish what was left for him to clean up before he stepped into the position when Wylie went down. The Chiefs are in a position to start a guy that is ready now. Tega Wanogho has spent his time to develop his lower half and refine his technique with O-line coach Andy Heck. Now it’s the Prince’s time to shine. He should stay where he’s at and let this O-line guide the team to Arizona. All in All, Keep The Fresh Prince at right tackle.
Prince Tega Wanogho Auburn Highlights: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IHiGCyTUk