Chiefs 2003 Outlook: Offensive Line

One of the the Chiefs biggest strengths for the 2003 season is their offensive line. Chiefs Insider Senior Writer Kevin Goodwin breaks down this unit.

Willie Roaf
Left tackle
First season with the Chiefs

Positives: Acquired from the New Orleans Saints in March and immediately paid dividends. Roaf was selected to his eighth Pro Bowl protecting the backside of quarterback Trent Green. At 6-5, 315 pounds, Roaf is an absolute mountain of a man, giving opposing defensive ends little optimism to get around him. Very nimble for a man his size, Roaf is also an outstanding run blocker.

Negatives: Roaf missed the last nine games of the 2001 season with a MCL injury in his right knee. At times, Roaf looked like he was hobbling badly, but still was able to start 16 games. Injury is the only thing that will keep Roaf from being a dominant tackle again next season.

Prognosis: Kansas City's starting left tackle, providing valuable insurance for the contract Green just signed.

Brian Waters
Left guard
Third season with Chiefs

Positives: A developing star. Waters, a undrafted free agent from North Texas, started all 16 games for the first time and showed great agility and hands at 6-3 and 318 pounds. Waters excels at moving around, especially pulling to help running Priest Holmes get wide. Waters is the perfect guard for this offense, which needs athletic linemen to do a multitude of things.

Negatives: Not much to talk about here. Pro Bowls are in his future.

Prognosis: Kansas City's starting left guard for years to come.

Casey Wiegmann
Center
Second season with the Chiefs

Positives: One of the first moves the Chiefs made when Dick Vermeil became head coach was to sign Wiegmann away from the Chicago Bears. Wiegmann is smaller than most centers, but gets away with it with superior quickness. Wiegnann is adept at getting out into space on sweeps and screens and making nice blocks on smaller, quicker linebackers.

Negatives: Like Waters, Wiegmann can get swarmed in some passing situations, but it's rare.

Prognosis: Kansas City's starting center

Will Shields
Right guard
Tenth season with the Chiefs

Positives: Shields, a third-round draft pick out of Nebraska in 1993, is arguably considered the best player in the NFL at his position. Shields was selected to his eighth straight Pro Bowl. Remarkably consistent, Shields also plays at a high level through pain. He has started 159 consecutive games. Shields has been with the Chiefs longer than any player on the roster.

Negatives: The only thing creeping up on Shields is Father Time. Shields will be 32 on Sept. 15. He still has many years left in the tank.
Prognosis: Kansas City's starting right guard.

John Tait
Right tackle
Fourth season with the Chiefs

Positives: Tait made a successful transition from left to right tackle. He is better suited to the right side because of his run-blocking ability. Tait, 6-7 and 323, has good speed and can block downhill very well.

Negatives: Tait tends to lose position pass blocking, which caused the move. He can't get his hands out to fend off charging defensive ends. Mistakes on the right side aren't nearly as fatal as on the left side.

Prognosis: Tait is in the final year of his contract. He will be Kansas City's starting right tackle for at least one more season.

Overall grade for position: A


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