Former Chiefs Third-Round Pick Placed on Injured Reserve

Andy Reid

Getty Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid on December 16, 2021.

The Kansas City Chiefs are approaching their final game of the 2021 regular season.

At this point, the main thing besides ending on a high note is remaining healthy and recent news won’t help in that area. Right tackle Lucas Niang has been placed on the injured reserve, per the NFL transaction wire, officially ending his season.

With Mike Remmers still recovering from a back injury, this leaves Kansas City thin at offensive tackle in Week 18 — and potentially the playoffs.

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Situation at Tackle

Although left tackle Orlando Brown Jr. is trending towards returning against the Denver Broncos, the Chiefs are still short on blocking depth right now. With the way the title run ended in 2020 — at the hands of a potent Tampa Bay pass rush — that’s not something you want to hear heading into the postseason if you’re a KC fan.

In Week 17, that forced guard Joe Thuney over to left tackle, with Nick Allegretti spelling for 55 snaps in his place. Andrew Wylie has also been elevated into a starting role for most of the second half, starting six games at right tackle so far. Saturday should make seven on the year.

The aforementioned Allegretti, Kyle Long, Austin Blythe and Prince Tega Wanogho make up the current group of reserves behind the new starting five but Remmers is expected to return at some point.

“His back is feeling a little bit better as he goes,” Reid stated regarding Remmers on January 4 (per Matt McMullen). “We’ll just see. It’s still sensitive right now, but he’s making progress.”

All these recent injuries at tackle could make the first-round bye that much more important. That will require a win in Denver, but it will also rely on the Houston Texans upsetting the Tennessee Titans because of the head-to-head tiebreaker.

Head coach Andy Reid described Niang’s injury as a ruptured patellar tendon when he addressed it on Tuesday.

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Reviewing Niang’s Rookie Campaign

Niang was drafted in 2020 but he opted out due to the pandemic. Technically, that made 2021 his first season in the NFL.

It was an up and down start for the third-round selection out of TCU, with a 59.1 grade as a pass protector according to Pro Football Focus. Niang was better in the run game, earning a 69.7.

PFF charged him with two sacks allowed in seven starts of 15 offensive snaps or more. His 26 quarterback pressures allowed averaged out to 0.072 per pass-blocking snap. The Chiefs went 4-3 in those games.

Niang was also responsible for three penalties, and he was injured in his first official start at left tackle.

It was not the perfect initial campaign for the prospect — labeled a weak link early on — but it was something to build off. Niang showed resilience and improvement, it’s a shame that he won’t be able to participate in his first NFL playoff action with the franchise.

We wish him a speedy recovery.


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