In what is becoming an annual tradition, the Kansas City Chiefs are expected to take an offensive lineman high in April’s draft. Since GM Scott Pioli came to town those expectations have not been met as he has yet to draft a single true tackle.
When the position is finally addressed — in the draft or via free free agency — we should shelve another annual tradition: demands to move Branden Albert from left to right tackle. If your didn’t see enough with your own eyes last season, trust the ones over at Pro Football Focus.
PFF took a look at the players that were most improved, most disappointing and most deserving of more snaps for every team in the league. On the Chiefs, Albert got the nod as the most improved thanks to the strides he took in pass protection.
Branden Albert: From -10.8 Pass Blocking, to +8.9 Pass Blocking
In some respects, Albert looked like a guard playing tackle his first three years in the league. You can’t say that anymore after a drastic turnaround in performance that saw the Chiefs’ left tackle finish the year in fifth position in our Offensive Tackle Pass Blocking Efficiency ranking, giving up just 24 combined sacks, hits, and hurries. A year earlier, that number was 40 (on 59 fewer pass blocks) – an indication of how far he has come.
The black hole on the Kansas City offensive line is squarely on the right side, where Barry Richardson has been one of the worst tackles in the leagues. There will also need to be improvement inside, where Casey Wiegmann isn’t in Richardson’s class but also wasn’t nearly where he was in his prime.
Albert was fantastic last season and managed to do it while fighting through multiple injuries. Chiefs fans should feel good knowing there is one key position they don’t have to worry about this offseason.
Next year when he’s a free agent? That’s a different story altogether.