The 2012 NFL draft was full of surprises for Kansas City Chiefs fans. Following the selection of nose tackle Dontari Poe in the first round, Chiefs general manager Scott Pioli spent the next two picks on offensive linemen Jeff Allen and Donald Stephenson.
Most NFL teams manage to find starters in the second round and in the third round if their third-round pick is fairly high. But how likely is it that Allen and Stephenson get to see action in 2012 as rookies?
The Chiefs seem to know the five players who will start at offensive line in Week 1 and it is doubtful that a rookie is part of that group. Last season, the five players who the Chiefs have saw plenty of action:
- Left tackle Branden Albert played 16 games for the first time in his career.
- Left guard Ryan Lilja played 15 games and has missed only two starts in the last three years.
- Center Rodney Hudson started one game while backing up Casey Wiegmann and was available for all 16 games as a rookie.
- Right guard Jon Asamoah started all 16 games in his second year in the league.
- Right tackle Eric Winston started all 16 games last year as a member of the Houston Texans and has started 89 consecutive games, not missing a start since Nov. 19, 2006.
Out of those five players, Lilja is the only player who missed a game in 2011 and he missed only one game while the four other players suited up for all 16 games. This gives us a good reason to believe that this healthy offensive line should remain active throughout the 2012 season.
Therefore, Pioli probably knows that Allen and Stephenson will receive limited action this year. So what is his plan with those two linemen?
Both Albert and Lilja will become free agents following this season while Asamoah will be a free agent the season after. Depending on their performance before their contracts expire and if Pioli plans on bringing them back or not may open the door for Allen and Stephenson in the future.
The two rookies probably won't see much action on offense and could mostly spend time with the field-goal unit. Kansas City's 2012 draft class can't be fairly judged until those two get a legitimate chance at starting a full season with the team. That may not be for two or three years.