Training Camp Battles: Right Guard

Training Camp Battles: Right Guard

By Jack Johnson, Sports Radio 810 Contributor

Welcome to the first edition of Training Camp Battles. This week, we will break down
the right guard position.

Back in mid-June, the Chiefs announced that Kyle Long, a potential starter on the
revamped offensive line, would miss all of camp with a lower leg injury. Long, who signed a
one-year deal worth up to $5 million, was expected to battle for a starting spot with Laurent
Duvernay-Tardif. However, with a wrench thrown in the plans, another name has entered the
conversation. That name is Trey Smith — the Chiefs’ sixth round pick of the University of

According to ESPN’s Louis Riddick, Kansas City could have two players from the 2021
NFL Draft starting on its offensive line. Creed Humphrey, a second round pick out of Oklahoma,
and Smith. Listed at 6-foot-5, 330 pounds, Smith is a physical specimen with a ferocious
mentality. When asked about how he plans to protect Patrick Mahomes in the pocket, he didn’t
dance around the question.

“A goal of mine? I’m trying to destroy the person in front of me,” Smith said. “I’m not
playing any games. I’m trying to be the most violent person on the field.”

Just like with any position battle, there are pros and cons that come with the final
decision. In the case of Smith, there’s an ample amount of upside. He’s a mauler that would’ve
gone much higher in the draft if it wasn’t for blood clots in his lungs that forced him to miss
parts of the 2018 season. However, Smith played in every game from 2019-20 and was a
Second-Team All-American and earned All-SEC First-Team in 2020. On the other hand, the
downside is that the Chiefs would be starting two rookies on the right side of their line. Lucas
Niang, who sat out last year with COVID-19 concerns, has a good chance of beating out Mike
Remmers at right tackle. Despite Smith and Niang’s talent, will Kansas City feel comfortable
starting two rookies with how poorly the Super Bowl went?

The other option is Duvernay-Tardif. The 30-year-old also opted-out last season, but to
aid hospitals fighting COVID-19 off the field. Duvernay-Tardif started in all 14 games he
appeared in during the 2019 season with Kansas City. However, it was the worst season of his
career according to multiple categories. His PFF grade of 59.7 was a career-low and his
run-blocking grade of 54.3 was also a career-low. In the passing game, he allowed a career-high
27 pressures. The question is, can LDT bounce back after a year off?

If the Chiefs wanted to stick with experience, Andrew Wylie is a third option, who started
14 games for Kansas City last year. When Eric Fisher went down with an achilles injury in the
AFC Championship game vs. Buffalo, the Chiefs moved Remmers from right tackle to left and
Wylie from right guard to right tackle. Well, we know how things turned out. Fortunately for
him, Wylie has experience at both guard positions.

Austin Blythe and Nick Allegretti are on the outside looking in. Blythe, a former center
for the Los Angeles Rams, was signed to a one-year deal back in March (before the Chiefs took
Humphrey in the draft). Allegretti was Kansas City’s left guard in the Super Bowl, but provides
solid depth up front.

It’s no secret the Chiefs have restructured its offensive line to protect Mahomes for half a
decade. However, will they trust the ones who’ve blocked for him before (LDT, Wylie) or do
they gamble on Smith? Let us know your thoughts!