Laurent Duvernay-Tardif pushing for Chiefs’ starting right guard spot

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Chiefs offensive lineman Laurent Duvernay-Tardif entered training camp as a dark horse.

But the second-year pro earned his way into personnel rotations with the first-team unit, and hasn’t left since being inserted at right guard on Aug. 17.

Aug. 18, 2015; St. Joseph, MO; Chiefs guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif (76) prepares to block during a training camp drill at Missouri Western State University. (Emily DeShazer/The Topeka Capital-Journal)

Aug. 18, 2015; St. Joseph, MO; Chiefs guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif (76) prepares to block during a training camp drill at Missouri Western State University. (Emily DeShazer/The Topeka Capital-Journal)

While coach Andy Reid wouldn’t name the starting offensive line, the 6-5, 321-pound Duvernay-Tardif is officially in the mix.

“I would tell you that Larry has made a good case for that right guard spot,” coach Andy Reid said during Friday’s media conference call. “I know that’s been kind of a question mark.”

The Chiefs selected Duvernay-Tardif out of McGill University in Canada in the sixth round of the 2014 NFL Draft and he spent the past season developing and learning the offensive scheme.

He impressed enough late in the season to take first-team repetitions at guard, and has carried that momentum through the preseason to challenge for a starting job.

“A year ago, I probably couldn’t have told you that that would happen,” Reid said. “I’m a big McGill University fan, but the level of football there isn’t as great as their academics if you understand what I’m saying. It’s probably equivalent to maybe some of the upper-echelon junior colleges in our country here. For him to go out and improve like he’s improved and attack it the way he has been, pretty good.”

Duvernay-Tardif didn’t play in Thursday night’s preseason finale against the St. Louis Rams. But he started two preseason games, seeing significant playing time by recording 39 snaps against the Seattle Seahawks and 32 snaps against the Tennessee Titans. He logged 33 snaps in the preseason opener.

The Chiefs are set to enter the regular season dealing with injuries to left tackle Eric Fisher (high-ankle sprain) and guard/tackle Jeff Allen (knee).

Reid said he believes Fisher should be ready for the season opener against the Houston Texans on Sept. 13, but wasn’t sure about Allen.

The Chiefs head coach has preached “the best five” since OTAs when it came to determining the starting offensive line.

And given his compliments, that likely means the starting offense line will feature Fisher, Ben Grubbs at left guard, rookie Mitch Morse at center, Donald Stephenson at right tackle, and, of course, Duvernay-Tardif.

“Right now,” Reid said, “I’d have to tell you he’s one of the five best guys right this minute.”

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Herbie Teope is the lead Chiefs beat writer for ChiefsDigest.com and The Topeka Capital-Journal. Use the contact page to reach him or find him on Twitter: @HerbieTeope.

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