The Kansas City Chiefs have two high-level offensive tackles under contract through 2021, but that didn’t stop head coach Andy Reid and crew from taking TCU right tackle Lucas Niang in the third round of the 2020 NFL Draft on Friday.
Former No. 1 overall pick Eric Fisher and All-Pro tackle Mitchell Schwartz are anchoring the outsides for superstar quarterback Patrick Mahomes, but the Chiefs entered the draft lacking depth at the tackle position. Kansas City signed veteran lineman Mike Remmers over the offseason, but drafting Niang could mean that Remmers slides inside to right guard, where he started 16 games with the Minnesota Vikings in 2018.
TCU OT Lucas Niang since 2017— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) April 25, 2020
975 Pass-block snaps
0 Sacks allowed pic.twitter.com/UNi2GsGRnj
While Niang spent his entire TCU career at right tackle, Chiefs beat reporter BJ Kissel revealed Niang could see reps at guard as Kansas City prepares to defend its title. The 6-foot-7, 315-pounder played in 44 games for the Horned Frogs, making 27 starts before missing the second half of his senior season with a hip injury that required surgery. Despite the injury, Niang didn’t allow one sack over his entire career, and many scouts had him marked as a first-round or second-round prospect before the surgery, which prevented him from participating in the NFL Draft Combine.
I love Lucas Niang’s mentality. Played RT at TCU but says he played LT his whole life before coming to college. Veach talked about him playing guard next year but could potentially move to RT/LT in the future for the Chiefs pic.twitter.com/vroy9fGuwg— Braiden Turner (@bturner23) April 25, 2020
If Niang can return to full health, he’ll provide tremendous value for the Chiefs, who need to do everything they can to protect their franchise player in Mahomes. Niang will almost certainly begin his pro career as a reserve, but he’ll have an opportunity to earn a starting spot in the short term. Both Schwartz (30) and Fisher (29) will become unrestricted free agents after the 2021-22 season, and any drop-off in production from either tackle could motivate Kansas City to make a move.
In 2018 Lucas Niang had a battle with a couple DE's from Ohio State. Matched up vs Chase Young he executes a near flawless pass set. Stops Young's rush plan with good hands and moves him pas the QB. He gives him a shove at the end just to make sure. @ArrowheadLive On pic.twitter.com/XW4qBpYxTz— Caleb James (@CJScoobs) April 25, 2020
TCU has established a reputation for producing NFL-caliber offensive linemen, and Niang is the latest product to fill that mold. He’s the fourth Horned Frog tackle and the sixth offensive lineman to be drafted since 2015. Four of those draftees (Joey Hunt, Joseph Noteboom, Halapoulivaati Vaitai and Matt Pryor) are still on NFL rosters, and undrafted free agents like Patrick Morris, Aviante Collins, Austin Schlottmann and Cordel Iwuagwu found their way onto NFL rosters as well.
Lucas Niang TCU career:— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) January 31, 2020
1,027 Pass-block snaps
32 QB pressures allowed pic.twitter.com/4E2eWSvca4
If the Chiefs can successfully defend their title this coming season, Niang would join the ranks of former Horned Frog linemen Marcus Cannon and Marshall Newhouse as Super Bowl champions. It will be interesting to see how Niang develops as he prepares to begin his NFL career in Kansas City.