The Kansas City Chiefs are continually linked to an offensive tackle when it comes to mocks for the upcoming 2012 NFL Draft for one primary reason: Barry Richardson. Some have called him the worst tackle in the NFL last season and most have at least noted his subpar performance in both the running and passing game. For a team that’s been so good historically at running the ball, it’s amazing that Richardson has garnered so much playing time.
Even if Richardson’s poor performance is played up in the media, it’s still a position to upgrade for the team. But Chris Burke notes that Richardson also let himself down. As a young tackle, he could have enjoyed a major pay raise in the free agency market. Instead, he’ll fight for a roster spot. Burke writes:
NFL teams are constantly searching for young talent at the offensive tackle position, something that should have worked in the favor of the 25-year-old Richardson, whose rookie contract is up.
Unfortunately for him, there’s not a huge market for overmatched young tackles, and that’s what Richardson has shown himself to be. He did start all 16 games for Kansas City for the second straight season, but that says more about K.C.’s lack of line depth than Richardson’s ability. Over the 2011 season, Richardson was flagged for nine penalties, gave up eight sacks and allowed an astronomical 36 quarterback pressures. Any team relying on him to be more than a backup going forward is asking for trouble.
The Chiefs are likely to move on from Richardson in the draft specifically. The Chiefs have been linked to Riley Reiff or Jonathan Martin or even Mike Adams multiple times and they are also likely to strike a deal with someone via free agency. The team is woefully thin at tackle, so something has to be done. Yet if Richardson were brought back, even in a back-up role, there’s likely to be some level of PR backlash.