Eric Fisher and Mitchell Schwartz could be ready by week 1 but the Chiefs still need to draft tackle
In a conference call Monday morning including Chiefs General Manager Brett Veach, it was highlighted that the organization is optimistic that both Eric Fisher who tore his achilles in the AFC Championship and Mitchell Schwartz who hurt his back in week 6, and both play tackle for the Chiefs, will be ready to go not only by week 1 of the NFL season, but by Chiefs training camp. While this is good news for Chiefs fans, it should not change their approach to addressing the offensive line this offseason.
First of all, there's a difference between expecting and being optimistic. We should all still be skeptical that both Schwartz and Fisher could be back by training camp. Schwartz is probably more likely given his injury happened a lot earlier and isn't as career-threatening as Fisher's. Fisher on the other hand, is coming off an achilles rupture which is notorious for altering elite athlete's careers let alone a 300-pound offensive lineman. Fisher's recovery timeline according to the team seems a bit off unless it was a lower grade tear of the achilles and best-case scenario surgery and recovery. We'll give the team the benefit of the doubt though since they're the closest to the situation and know a lot more than us.
Anyways, the optimism surrounding Schwartz and Fisher's return shouldn't change the organization's plan to add to the offensive line. The reason for that would be well...look what happened this season. The Chiefs didn't invest heavily into their offensive line at all the last couple years (yes they drafted Lucas Niang but we'll touch on that in a second) and the lack of depth came back to bite them. The Super Bowl told us that when your offensive line faces attrition and you're forced to start a plethora of journeyman lineman and 6th and 7th round draft picks, it doesn't quite work out. Add in the fact next season that Schwartz and Fisher will be back, but both coming off major surgeries, and the Chiefs shouldn't continue to ignore tackle this offseason. They still need to look for their eventual replacements and just depth in general.
Now, many will point to the fact that the Chiefs drafted Lucas Niang last cycle and he opted out after unforeseen circumstances which is true, but he wasn't going to come in and start immediately anyways and it really takes a year or two to completely learn the Andy Reid offense. Niang was still the only major addition in the last several years and the Chiefs lost 4 of 5 starters along the offensive line in 2020. So, that doesn't quite change much.
We all know tackle is an area of need in the draft but it may not be as much of a need as interior after how unimpressive they were this past season. Basically, the Chiefs still have needs on the offensive line everywhere and Fisher and Schwartz shouldn't change that. However, what it could do is take away some of the urgency around the Chiefs drafting offensive lineman super high. The Chiefs have other needs like defensive line and linebacker this offseason so they can maybe be more comfortable taking them in the top-100 knowing that their starting tackles from 2020 are coming back.