Within Chiefs Kingdom, the name Creed Humphrey already carries weight after an absolutely dominant rookie campaign. Yet around the league, the Oklahoma product is still establishing himself as a household star.
Part of that is his position. Centers generally don’t get a ton of publicity but Humphrey did earn some praise from Bleacher Report analyst Gary Davenport on July 15, as the writer labeled him Kansas City’s “best-kept secret.”
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NFL Survey Snubs Humphrey
As evidence of Humphrey’s hidden status, Davenport quoted an ESPN survey of NFL experts conducted by insider Jeremy Fowler. The poll voted on a top-10 ranking at interior offensive line and the Chiefs 2021 rookie came up short as an honorable mention.
It didn’t take Creed Humphrey long to make his way into the starting lineup for the Kansas City Chiefs. The 6’5″, 309-pounder from Oklahoma wound up starting all 17 games as a rookie, allowing just a single sack in almost 1,200 snaps. However, when ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler polled NFL executives, coaches and players for a list of the top-10 interior offensive linemen, Humphrey didn’t make the cut—although he was included in the “honorable mention” section.
Fowler did agree that Humphrey was “poised” for a top-10 ranking next year, citing his 91.8 Pro Football Focus grade, 97.7% pass block win rate, and his fifth-ranked 71.8% run block win rate. Although the insider also reported that one NFL vice president called the KC center “a little overrated,” adding that they want to see more.
“Take that divergence of opinion and add the relative anonymity that goes part and parcel with manning the inside of the offensive line,” continued Davenport, “and Humphrey remains something of an under-the-radar player outside Kansas City. But if his 2022 tape looks anything like 2021, he’ll be known coast-to-coast soon enough.”
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Interior Offensive Line Is Built to Last
With two top-ranked rookies last year in Humphrey and Trey Smith, not to mention reliable veteran Joe Thuney, this KC interior is set up nicely for the next few seasons.
The Chiefs have Thuney under contract through 2025, although his cap hit jumps up to $22 million-plus from 2023 on. From a financial perspective, a cap casualty really cannot be considered until June of 2024, when that dead cap number drops to $6.616 million.
At 30 years old — which is still young enough for the guard position — KC doesn’t have to worry about Thuney yet. So long as his play doesn’t diminish, a potential extension could even lower those hefty cap hits and keep the ironman blocker in a Chiefs jersey to close out his career.
That gives Kansas City a fantastic trio up the gut, but the concerns still lie on the edge. After denying a proposed extension last week, Orlando Brown Jr.’s future is now up in the air and the Chiefs’ right tackle spot is still a total unknown.
Maybe someone like Darian Kinnard or Lucas Niang can eventually solidify this job long-term but until it happens, general manager Brett Veach should continue to look for creative ways to get better at the position.
He did so this offseason, adding Geron Christian Sr. and securing veteran depth like Andrew Wylie and Roderick Johnson. The front office has also held onto former Philadelphia Eagles sixth-rounder Prince Tega Wanogho.
The Chiefs cannot have enough depth at tackle right now due to all the uncertainty surrounding each starting role. It’ll be interesting to see if Kansas City goes with a shallow approach on the interior during roster cuts, in order to hoard more options at OT.