“Returning Chiefs” is an offseason series with each entry focusing on one player that we know will be returning to the Chiefs next season. With so much change expected to come, the returning players will be more important than ever in the pursuit of another Super Bowl championship. Many of these returning players will be asked to take on larger roles in production and leadership and Chiefs fans should know who those players are and what we should expect from them.
Vol. 4 brought us back to the offensive side of the ball with Skyy Moore, who’s part of a position group that takes all kinds of uncertainty into the coming season.
Our next returning Chief mans an area of the field that is about at solidified as it gets on this roster: interior offensive line. Ever since the 2021 offensive line overhaul offseason, Trey Smith, Creed Humphrey, and Joe Thuney have made up one of the best interior units in football. We’ll start with our mauler on the right side in Trey Smith.
Already a Steal
If Trey Smith never plays another down of football for the Chiefs, I would still declare him an absolute draft steal by Brett Veach and company. Smith was selected with pick number 226 in the sixth round of the 2021 NFL Draft. Not many guys drafted that late become NFL starters, but Smith has been the Chiefs no-doubt starting right guard since his name was called. That’s enough to be happy with the pick.
Smith wasn’t your run of the mill, Isiah Pacheco, type draft steal, however. This is a guy who plays like he has a chip on his shoulder after being passed over repeatedly despite being one of the best and most productive offensive lineman in the SEC during his time at Tennessee. Smith’s unique health complications were well documented during the draft process and after he was ultimately drafted by Kansas City. This is a player who would likely have been a comfortable top 100 pick without the health issues. The Chiefs took a chance on him and have been rewarded with exactly the player he looked like he could be when he was on the field at Tennessee.
Trey Smith is already an absolute draft robbery. Anything else from here is just icing on the cake.
Consistency is Next
During his first two seasons in the NFL, Trey Smith has solidified himself as a plus run blocker that can be downright dominant at times. His highlights of pancakes and big blocks are already becoming the stuff of legend amongst Chiefs fans.
If there’s one thing I would like to see from Trey Smith in 2023, it’s consistency. Many fans and analysts would probably be more specific and say they would like to see improvement as a pass blocker. I wholeheartedly agree with them, but I think a more consistent Trey Smith automatically improves in the passing game. He’s shown on multiple occasions that he has what it takes to be an all around player, but lapses in technique and effort cost him reps at times.
As he matures into a leader for the Chiefs, Smith should become a more consistent and well rounded player. Year three should be fun to watch.
Reunited and it Feels So Good
As if going into year three wasn’t enough for Trey Smith to become a leader, he’s got even more incentive now that a couple of his former teammates have joined him in the Kingdom. Wanya Morris (3rd Round, Pick 92) and Jerome Carvin (UDFA) both played with Smith during his time in Rocky Top. With both guys expected to compete for time at Right Tackle over the next few years, it wouldn’t be surprising to see at least two of these guys playing together again.
All three were excited about the reunion after draft weekend.
With a new running mate at Right Tackle in 2023, I’ll be excited to see how Trey Smith’s role changes and what his progression looks like as the season goes. One thing’s for sure, we’re lucky to have one of the nastiest guards in football on our side.