Perhaps no other player on the Chiefs roster has been put through the ringer more than Barry Richardson. For the last three years the Chiefs have been linked to every right tackle available in the draft, free agency, waiver wire, and retiree list it seems. This offseason was no different and I was caught up in the hoopla as much as the next guy. The Ryan Harris to the Chiefs stories, or Jammal Brown having rumored to been on Kansas City's radar this offseason.
Every where you look there were rumors of who the Chiefs were going to grab at right tackle. A lot of the draft experts had the Chiefs leaning towards Gabe Carimi from Wisconsin this past year. But the Chiefs had tendered Barry Richardson this year and he signed his one-year deal for this upcoming season right before training camp. There isn't a player on the Chiefs roster that could prove more people wrong this year than Barry Richardson.
He's 25 years old and started every game for the Chiefs last season. He helped lead the team to the No.1 ranked rushing attack in the entire NFL. You'd think that a 25-year old right tackle that started every game and helped the team amass the kind of rushing numbers that the Chiefs achieved would get at least a little more respect than Richardson has seen recently.
I'm as guilty as anyone out there but when I step back and look at the big picture I realize that it's in the best interest of the Chiefs if Barry Richardson improves and becomes the right tackle of the future. He knows the system and he's young enough that he can still learn and develop his game. He'll need to improve his pass-blocking if he is going to turn some doubters into believers, but it's not out of the question that Richardson could show some improvement and earn a contract extension this season.
The preseason games would be a great time for Richardson to show he is the guy for this team moving forward at right tackle. The Chiefs obviously feel comfortable enough with Richardson to allow him to most likely be the starter again this year. Despite the rumored interest in Brown, if the Chiefs were really worried about Richardson starting then they would have made a move to bring in some competition. Bringing back Ryan O' Callaghan was a depth move to most-likely back up Richardson again.
The dark horse candidate for a tackle spot could be David Mims, who was lauded as a top-notch pickup as an undrafted free agent out of Virginia Union. You can't read anything on Mims and not see the word "raw" attached with his name so to keep the trend going we'll say that he is 6'8 330lbs and didn't have an offensive line coach in college. He is the very definition of raw.
But when you're watching the Chiefs on Friday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers you might want to keep your eye on Richardson if you want to see a guy that is most likely playing with a chip on his shoulder. He won't be lacking any motivation and I do hope that his possible-development at right tackle will be noticed and applauded by the same Chiefs fans that were looking for greener grass just a short time ago.