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How Lucas Niang will fit with the Kansas City Chiefs

The defending Super Bowl champions have two high-level starting tackles, but the TCU product and 2020 third-round draft pick will provide ample depth.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 15 AdvoCare Showdown - Ohio State v TCU Photo by Matthew Visinsky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.