One of the competitions that will take place during training camp for the Kansas City Chiefs will be for the starting right tackle job.
Third-year tackle Lucas Niang and veteran Andrew Wylie are the players on the roster that enter the 2022 season with experience as the starting right tackle for Kansas City. However, the Chiefs threw another player into the mix for the job via this year’s draft, and he is projected to win the starting job, according to PFF.
Ben Linsey of PFF projected the 22 players that would start for all 32 NFL teams next season, and projects rookie fifth-round pick Darian Kinnard to be the starting right tackle for the Chiefs.
“Wylie probably enters training camp as the starter due to Niang working his way back from injury and Kinnard’s standing as a fifth-round rookie, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see Kinnard have a Trey Smith-esque rise. Kinnard was the 79th-ranked player overall on PFF’s big board and is the kind of physical presence that the Chiefs have prioritized adding to their offensive line the last two offseasons,” Linsey wrote on May 16.
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What to Know About Darian Kinnard
Kinnard was selected by Kansas City with the 145th overall pick in the 2022 draft. That pick was acquired when the Chiefs traded with the New England Patriots to move down in the second round.
Here’s a draft profile of Kinnard by NFL Media’s Lance Zierlein:
“Three-year starter at right tackle with a right guard projection, Kinnard possesses a frame that is very girthy but well proportioned. He’s not a bad athlete but faces limitations with lateral and recovery movements,” he wrote. “A transition inside should allow for more advantageous positioning as both a drive blocker and in pass protection. Kinnard is an all-day mauler relying heavily upon a nasty demeanor and physical advantages to overwhelm opponents. However, he could see a substantial downturn in success rate at the pro level unless he spends more time and energy improving his hand usage, footwork and overall technique.”
The general consensus by draft analysts is that Kinnard, who was a starting tackle for three years at Kentucky, would be better suited for a guard role in the NFL. However, Kansas City has different plans for him, which Kinnard detailed at rookie minicamp.
“A lot of teams asked, but they never said, ‘Hey, we’re going to play you at guard,’” Kinnard said on May 8. “Some teams said, ‘Yeah, we see you as a guard.’ [But] at the end of the day, for me, it was trying to make an impact at whatever position that was.
“It’s pretty cool that coming in, [the Chiefs] see me as a tackle. But I was going to come in and compete for any job I could. It’s pretty reassuring that I can play tackle — a position I’d be comfortable with.”
Kinnard Entering Rookie Season With ‘Chip on My Shoulder’
Kinnard, despite being graded as a Day 2 prospect by companies like NFL Media, Bleacher Report, and Draft Wire, slipped down the board and was drafted on Day 3. So, coupling that with an already fiery attitude means Kinnard is entering his rookie year with a chip on his shoulder.
“The chip’s on my shoulder — but I’ve got to be smart-minded, keep my head down and work,” he said. “First things first: I’ve got to compete for a job. Then I can keep carrying that chip on my shoulder against these other teams.”