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Anton Harrison and the Chiefs: Why He Would Be a Match Made in Heaven for Patrick Mahomes?

The Chiefs could easily land their future left tackle between No. 25-31

Harrison
(Photo by: William Purnell/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The Chiefs are looking to repeat as Super Bowl champions which haven’t been done in the last seasons since the New England Patriots. The Chiefs have to address needs like replacing receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster, finding Frank Clark’s replacement on the Edge, and addressing the offensive line position at the vacant tackle spots left by Orlando Brown Jr., and Andrew Wylie. Even though the Chiefs signed an elite pass blocker in offensive tackle Jawaan Taylor, why not go get another one? Former Oklahoma left tackle Anton Harrison is one of the highest risers in the 2023 NFL Draft. Although he played the most important position on the offensive line for one of the best programs in the entire country, Harrison put on a clinic against some of the best competition in the country, routinely winning his reps during one-on-one. He masterfully corralled every dominant defensive lineman and linebacker that was put in front of him at Oklahoma.

In the months to follow, analysts and draft pundits watched his draft stock soar. The Chiefs in fact have recently visited with Harrison on a Top-30 visit to One Arrowhead Drive. That’s why I believe In the first round of the NFL Draft, Harrison could end up the Chiefs left tackle for the future. Of all the places that Harrison could have landed and helped immediately, the Chiefs is the best-case scenario. In terms of maximizing the potential within, this is the place for him and I’ll explain why.

He fits the Chiefs’ scheme with ease:

Harrison, a 6’4” 315 lb. left tackle displays an impressive combination of speed and strength that allowed him to dominate Big 12 pass rushers for three years. What sets Harrison apart is his feet and use of hands. The athletic tackle also has elite lateral agility and did a good job of using his speed (4.98 40 time) to reach linebackers at the second level. Harrison is also adept at using his hands to initiate contact with the defender, and his hand placement is superb. Harrison’s strength is in pass protection, and it’s not hard to find an example of his elite pass-blocking skills.

One area that Harrison must improve at the next level is run-blocking. Harrison showed some inconsistency in his run-blocking and will need to gain strength in his lower body to improve his ability to win these matchups. He explodes into the defender at the snap and has good leverage while locking out his arms. He does show a strong base and smooth hip flexibility on the run, however, which opens up a gap for his running back. Harrison also does an amazing job at finishing his blocks. He keeps blocking the defensive end right up until the whistle blows and shows a little bit of a mean streak in continuously driving him back even after the play has flowed past him. NFL GMs love seeing aggressive blocking like the way Harrison shows on tape. The one big knock on him as well is his hand size. He has 9-inch and half hands which are small for a left tackle but his arm length and playing style make up for the rest. His 803 total snaps in 12 games average up to 66 snaps per game. That’s more reps at left tackle per game than Broderick Jones, Paris Johnson Jr, and even Peter Skronski.

Familiarity with Creed:

Not only would be great to draft a potential future left tackle on a rookie deal for the next four-five seasons, but getting one with familiarity with one of your star players is also a benefit as well. Harrison has the chance to reunite with his former college teammate Creed Humphrey to protect Patrick Mahomes. Harrison arrived at Oklahoma as a heavily recruited 4-star before appearing in nine games as a true freshman in 2020 then starting the last two seasons at tackle (24 starts with 23 at LT and one at RT). In Harrison’s first season starting at left tackle in 2020, he didn’t allow a sack in a limited capacity of 80 snaps while playing on the same line as Humphrey.

With Harrison likely finding his NFL home quite early in the draft, that’s yet another NFL lineman that was coached by Oklahoma Sooners’ offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh. Ben Powers, Creed Humphrey, Orlando Brown Jr., and Anton Harrison are just a few of the names that Bedenbaugh has seen in the NFL. Harrison also wears #71 which is famously worn by former Chiefs All-Pro tackle, Mitchell Schwartz and Oklahoma legend and current All-Pro left tackle Trent Williams. #71 is available but it’s up to Veach if he wants to make that move. I have also mentioned that Darnell Wright could be another option due to his familiarity with right guard Trey Smith from their Tennessee Days.

Mahomes is protected for future and the O-line stays together:

This move would not only benefit Mahomes when it comes to pass protection but it helps the entire offensive line unit in the future. It’s no difference from having an MVP QB on a rookie deal like the Chiefs had with Mahomes in 2018. Great QBs on a rookie contract, like Mahomes in 2018, or in this case any blue chip player outside the QB position is extremely valuable to any franchise as they play on cost-controlled fixed deals for their first four to five seasons in the NFL. This allows franchises a nice window of opportunity to surround the young QB with a talented arsenal of weapons on offense and a strong defense on the opposite side of the ball before the QB or the non-QB player commands a potential record shattering extension. Mahomes is already paid, Thuney got paid, Taylor got paid and now focused on paying Creed Humphrey and Trey Smith when they’re eligible after the 2023 season ends. It will come down to both Taylor and Thuney restructuring their deals in order for their guys to get paid. It offers the Chiefs enough time to pay their potential draft pick rather if it was Harrison or even Dawand Jones (the Massive Ohio State right tackle) especially with that five year option. It would also be a smart move to select Harrison or any left or right tackle for that specific reason.

Anton Harrison has all of the tools needed to be an elite left tackle for the Chiefs. A player with the physical traits and pass-blocking ability that Harrison possesses will do very well at the next level. His hand use and placement is excellent, and his combination of power and agility will allow him to succeed versus NFL pass rushers. Even though he needs to improve the consistency of his run-blocking, and gain some lower body strength, it is still easy to see why this left tackle should be the first player on Brett Veach’s mind come April 27. If the Chiefs make this move, the rest of the NFL should continue to be very, very afraid of Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs with repeating as World Champions on their minds while expecting the stranglehold on the AFC West to continue for the foreseeable future.

 

Follow Chiefs Fan 4 Life on Twitter @ChiefsFan4Lyfe. Check out my articles, including the 3 players the Chiefs should consider moving up for if it’s not Harrison, why I think Justyn Ross will have a breakout season in 2023 and how the Chiefs will have an underrated safety trio in 2023.

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