2021 NFL draft: Deep OT class good news for Chiefs

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Luke Easterling
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The Kansas City Chiefs raised some eyebrows Thursday when they released both of their starting offensive tackles, Eric Fisher and Mitchell Schwartz.

One of the prevailing storylines from the Chiefs’ embarrassing 31-9 beatdown in Super Bowl LV at the hands of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was the absence of Fisher and Schwartz, both of whom missed the game due to injury.

That made it a strange turn of events to see both veterans cut Thursday, leaving what was clearly an undermanned offensive line without perhaps its best members.

Thankfully for the defending AFC champs, it’s a great year to need an offensive tackle in the NFL draft.

This year’s class boasts a long list of prospects worthy of first-round consideration, making it likely that the Chiefs will have plenty of attractive options at the No. 31 overall pick in the first round. Whoever they could land at that spot would also be younger and cheaper than either Fisher or Schwartz, and without the injury concerns that plague both moving forward.

Oklahoma State’s Teven Jenkins, Alabama’s Alex Leatherwood, North Dakota State’s Dillon Radunz and Texas’ Samuel Cosmi are all players who would be worthy of that selection, and have the talent to start right away.

Throw in the presence of last year’s third-round pick, Lucas Niang, and the Chiefs might not more well off than many think at offensive tackle heading into next season. Protecting their investment in franchise quarterback Patrick Mahomes is of the utmost importance, which means an offseason of rebuilding the offensive line that had him running for his life in the Super Bowl.