Two top Super Bowl contenders just shook up the 2021 NFL Draft with a blockbuster trade.
The Chiefs acquired offensive tackle Orlando Brown, a second-round pick in next week’s draft and a sixth-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft from the Ravens in exchange for first-, third- and fourth-round picks in 2021 and a fifth-rounder in 2022, according to NFL Network.
Brown is a former third-round draft pick who has made two Pro Bowls in his first three seasons as a right tackle. He was projected as a first-round pick in 2018 before he bombed the NFL Combine and slipped down boards.
Brown demanded a chance to play left tackle moving forward and the Ravens could not accommodate, so he goes from blocking for one quarterback phenom (Lamar Jackson) to another (Patrick Mahomes).
It’s a strange trade because the Ravens are helping the Chiefs – their main roadblock to reaching a Super Bowl out of the AFC – cure their biggest problem.
The Chiefs’ injury-depleted offensive line was exposed in Super Bowl 55. Instead of just waiting for the starters to get healthy, they cut tackles Mitchell Schwartz and Eric Fisher, and lured top guard Joe Thuney from the Patriots in free agency and traded for Brown.
The Ravens are expected to replace Brown at right tackle by signing veteran Alejandro Villanueva after the draft, according to ESPN. The longtime Steelers starter has remained a free agent longer than expected after many projected him to land with the Colts.
So, now the Ravens have more draft capital without having to replace Brown with those picks. Always one of the most active teams when it comes to moving up and down the board, the Ravens hold picks No. 27 and No. 31 in the first round.
The Chiefs now will first pick at No. 58.
Brown reportedly will start at left tackle for the Chiefs in the final year of his contract and try to earn an extension. The franchise tag in 2022 also is a possibility because the Chiefs don’t want to have traded away a first-round pick for a one-year rental.
But it is clear the Chiefs did not expect a top-tier offensive tackle to slip to No. 31 and fill their need. It is expected that five offensive tackles could be first-round picks.