Chiefs GM says Kahlil McKenzie will look like 'first-round pick' playing OL in the NFL
When Kahlil McKenzie announced he planned to leave Tennessee early and declare for the 2018 NFL Draft as a junior, many Volunteer fans wondered why. The former five-star recruit never lived up to that potential in college and it appeared he did not want to start from scratch with the new coaching staff in Knoxville.
Considering his family connections to the NFL, it would appear the lineman had more insight into his options than many outsiders thought, as McKenzie was a coveted prospect by at least one pro franchise — albeit at another position than on the defensive line.
Immediately after McKenzie’s selection in the 2018 NFL Draft, NFL Network analyst Louis Riddick said McKenzie would be an offensive lineman in Kansas City. He was exactly right, as the team’s general manager Brett Veach had some high praise for McKenzie’s potential at the next level following the start of rookie minicamp in KC.
“This kid is going to look like a first-round pick. He is an impressive player,” Veach said according to Sam McDowell of The Kansas City Star. “He’s a draftable talent just as a defensive lineman, and he would certainly be on an NFL roster this coming fall if he just played defensive line. But when you watched him at his pro day … he had such a good workout at guard. It looked natural to him.”
Kansas City has been known to do this previously, as offensive lineman Cam Erving arrived from Florida State as a defensive lineman. Now after two seasons in the NFL, Erving has found a living on the Kansas City roster on the other side of the ball. If McKenzie can successfully make the transition to the other side of the ball, his future looks bright to do much of the same with the Chiefs.