Which draft prospects are in line to be the Chiefs’ new left tackle if they choose to not bring OBJ back?
It’s appears that the Chiefs will be looking for a premier blindside protector for a lesser cost (Drafting one). The Kansas City Chiefs won’t use the franchise tag on Left tackle Orlando Brown, NFL Network Insiders Ian Rapoport, Mike Garafolo and Tom Pelissero reported on Monday, per sources informed of the situation.
The Chiefs still has until next week to work out a potential long-term deal with the left tackle or he will be free to negotiate and sign with a new club when free agency begins on March 15. However, based off of the move it appears that the team could be looking for a new left tackle. Just like Good QBs on rookie deals, that’s what the Chiefs will be looking towards.
Mock drafts should be unanimously projecting the Chiefs to move up to select standout Northwestern Offensive tackle Peter Skoronski. The NFL Draft never fails to throw us some serious curveballs, however, and that pick is far from a sure thing.
Of course, it is a safe bet that the Chiefs will address a Premier LT with their top pick. Here are three players that aren’t Skoronski that they should be strongly considering and also if Orlando Brown doesn’t return (Or he returns to play right tackle).
Broderick Jones, Georgia:
Premier LTs are capable of snuffing out dynamic rushers without assistance, and decision makers are always on the hunt for nimble pass protectors with great skill. Jones lived up to that potential at left tackle in the early goings of the 2021 to the 2022 season for the Georgia Bulldogs. Through 15 games he’s allowed just nine pressures and no sacks with two penalties according to Pro Football Focus. His run-blocking hasn’t been quite as consistent, especially in gap-blocking plays.
He’s someone who already on the Chiefs’ radar. Jones has met with the Chiefs in a formal interview at the 2023 Combine already. He’s got loads of potential to develop into an elite pass blocker at the next level. At 6-4 and 310-pounds, Jones looks like a Chiefs guard more so than their typical tackle, but given the natural athleticism, aggression and explosiveness at the line of scrimmage could turn him into an All-Pro tackle in Kansas City.
Paris Johnson Jr., Ohio State:
Johnson played right guard for the Buckeyes last year, but with Nicholas Petit-Frere heading to the NFL in 2020, he moved to the left tackle spot. The 6-6 and 310-pound tackle prospect is a unique blend of raw power, length (36″ 1/8 arms) and athleticism. He was tasked with protecting C.J. Stroud’s blind side after waiting three years for an opportunity to play this position. He played well enough in 13 starts at his new spot to receive second-team Associated Press All-American and first-team All-Big Ten accolades in 2022.
Johnson would be an ideal fit with his versatility to play guard and tackle, blend of athleticism and natural movement skills in pass protection would fit very well in the Chiefs’ zone-blocking scheme. He’d be a day-one starter from the get-go, but the odds of him being available (Top 15) to the Chiefs could be incredibly slim.
Matthew Bergeron, Syracuse:
Another tackle prospect with 1st round potential that the Chiefs have met formally with besides Jones. One of the biggest reasons for Syracuse’s big time season, The 6-5 and 322-pound Matthew Bergeron had taken another leap forward in his junior season. He already had the reputation of being a road grader in the run game, but he’s been extremely smooth in pass protection. According to PFF, he’s allowed just 5 sacks and 12 pressures on 392 pass-blocking snaps in 2022.
He has the technical prowess to play tackle early on in his career because he’s able to play both tackle positions but may always struggle to make clean vertical sets to the depth the Chiefs would want. As a pure tackle, the fit would be moderate at best, but he has the body frame and strength to also excel as a dominant run blocker in the NFL. The Chiefs will never become a run-first team under Andy Reid, but they have been starting to give a little more credence to strong run blockers on the line, and Bergeron would fit that mold.