Smith, a highly-touted high school football prospect who played at the University of Tennessee, is now in his rookie season with the Chiefs. Three years after battling blood clots, the talented offensive lineman has quickly emerged as one of Mahomes’ new best friends.
Trey Smith is now serving as Patrick Mahomes’ starting right guard
Anyone who watched Super Bowl 55 quickly realized that Mahomes needed a new offensive line. Chiefs management quickly realized the same thing and acted on that need.
Andrew Wylie, who started at right guard in the Super Bowl, is now competing for snaps at right tackle. That opened the door for Smith, the 226th overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft, to slide in and emerge as an early favorite to replace Wylie.
The Chiefs’ first preseason depth chart listed Smith, who turned 22 in June, as the starting right guard. The two-time first-team All-SEC offensive lineman played right guard as a freshman in 2017 but primarily played left guard in his final two years at Tennessee.
Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, the Chiefs’ starting right guard during the team’s Super Bowl run in 2019, broke a bone in his hand and is expected to miss most, if not all, of the preseason. Duvernay-Tardif did not play last season and spent the season working as an orderly at a Montreal long-term care facility during the coronavirus pandemic.
Free-agent signee Kyle Long is on the physically unable to perform list. Long, who sat out last season, suffered a lower-leg injury this summer.
Mahomes and the Chiefs hope to have found a long-term gem in Smith
When Smith dominated as a true freshman in 2017, he quickly stood out as someone who could be a first-round draft pick several years down the line. If not for the blood clots, that very well could have been the case.
Instead, Smith nearly fell to the seventh and final round, in large part because of his medical history. The blood clots limited him to seven games in 2018.
During a pre-draft scouting report, NFL Media’s Lance Zierlein compared the Volunteers standout to former Cincinnati Bengals guard Bobbie Williams. Zierlein praised Smith’s size — the Chiefs list him at 6-foot-5 and 330 pounds — but also shared his concerns about the lineman’s range and weight.
“He’s big, wide, strong, long and will flash an aggressive streak when he gets geared up. The lack of body control and technique he put on tape suggests it may be difficult for him to overcome his limited athleticism.”Lance Zierlein
Clearly, Smith has shown enough in his first few months with the Chiefs to make head coach Andy Reid feel comfortable with the rookie’s body control and technique. The preseason will be a massive test for the 330-pound lineman, and yes, that is an intended pun.
Smith is only part of the Chiefs’ massively-rehauled offensive line
Smith isn’t the only new face on the Chiefs’ offensive line, and that fact bodes extremely well for Mahomes’ fourth season as a starting quarterback.
Mainstays like Eric Fisher and Mitchell Schwartz, the starting tackles, are gone. The Chiefs’ new offensive line, at least according to their first depth chart, looks as follows:
- Left tackle: Orlando Brown, the ex-Baltimore Ravens lineman acquired in an April trade. Fisher, the No. 1 overall pick in 2013, is now on the Indianapolis Colts.
- Left guard: Joe Thuney, who joined the Chiefs after five seasons with the New England Patriots. Nick Allegretti, who started nine regular-season games and all three playoff games last year, is his backup.
- Center: Creed Humphrey, an Oklahoma Sooners standout and a second-round pick in April’s draft. Austin Reiter, the primary starting center in 2019 and 2020, remained a free agent as of publication.
- Right guard: Smith.
- Right tackle: Lucas Niang, a third-round pick in 2020 who sat out last season during the pandemic. Schwartz remained a free agent as of publication. Mike Remmers started at right tackle in the Super Bowl but is now playing left tackle behind Brown.
That’s a lot of new faces for Mahomes, and all come from different backgrounds. But if all goes to plan and those five keep their starting quarterback upright, they should expect a nice dinner — complete with ketchup — and a Super Bowl ring for their efforts.