It is time for more projections. There are plenty of headlines to take into account when looking at the Kansas City Chiefs running backs heading into 2018. Without any more delay, let’s take a look at the Chiefs running backs and predict who will make the final roster.
Running Backs on the current roster: Kareem Hunt, Spencer Ware, Charcandrick West, Damien Williams, Kerwynn Williams, Darrel Williams
Kareem Hunt will undoubtedly enter his sophomore season with high expectations. In his rookie season, Hunt finished as the NFL’s leading rusher. Despite that satisfying feat, the Chiefs somehow steered away from Hunt in the Wild Card loss to the Titans, as he only garnered eleven carries.
There are some different qualities in Hunt’s game that allowed him to achieve that impressive first season. First, Hunt has the field vision that allows him to see any hole and try and hit it. This is something that Hunt showed from the Senior Bowl in 2017 before the Chiefs drafted him, and defenses continued to allow cutbacks that become common week in and week out. Hunt also showed that it takes a strong, hard-hitting tackle to bring him down. According to Pro Football Focus, Hunt forced 77 missed tackles, 61 of those were rushing and 16 on receiving. His forced missed tackles were also the best mark in the league.
No. 2 Running Back
Coming into 2017, the Chiefs had released Jamaal Charles and the starting job was solely in the hands of Ware. Unfortunately, he suffered a torn PCL and additional knee damage in the third preseason game. Ware missed the entire season. Following the injury, Ware looks as good as new heading into this season. Now, there have only been looks of Ware on social media videos and other reports, but at least there is good news. Andy Reid mentioned that Ware “is good” heading into training camp.
As for West, his pass blocking is always entertaining to watch. There seems to be at least one defender that flips over and is cut down by West every game in passing situations. West has achieved at least 150 receiving yards in all of his last three years. So, if the number two running back spot is not his, West’s third-down presence is still necessary for the Chiefs.
Meet the Williams
This is not a typo. There actually are three Williams, all in the running back room for the Chiefs.
Both Damien and Kerwynn have some NFL experience and are both entering their first campaign with the Chiefs. Damien has been used mostly as a receiving back in his career with the Dolphins, but he has been given plenty of opportunities as a rusher as well. Kerwynn enjoyed his first full season last year, playing in all sixteen games with the Cardinals. He racked up just over 500 total yards in a season where Arizona’s top running back was out with an injury.
Meanwhile, Darrel has come a long way to be a part of the Chiefs heading into training camp. Like Spencer Ware, Darrel Williams was a former high school quarterback who eventually became a running back. Also like Ware, Darrel played his college ball at LSU. He did not get a ton of opportunities, as he sat behind both Leonard Fournette and Derrius Guice during his time there. But as a complementary back, his numbers are still impressive. What could help Darrel make this Chiefs team is the versatility he possesses between the tackles and out in space.
Final Depth Chart: 1) Kareem Hunt 2) Spencer Ware 3) Charcandrick West 4) Damien Williams
Like in past seasons, the Chiefs running back depth chart is loaded and some viable contenders are going to get the short end of the stick and not make the active roster. Hunt and Ware are the powerhouses and the main focal point of the Chiefs running game. Besides the aforementioned third-down presence that West exuberates, his leadership and experience will be needed with a young quarterback like Patrick Mahomes stepping in. The war between the Williams looks to be in Damien Williams’ hands. The main reason being that the Chiefs are more likely to use two running back sets in passing situations. This is something that Mahomes ran while at Texas Tech, and Damien has shown that his hands are consistent out of the backfield.
As for Kerwynn and Darrel, it is highly likely that it comes down to the final cut day as to if they make the active roster or not. Both have the abilities and it should be a fun battle to watch. Come regular season time, one or the other, or maybe both have the ability to land on the Chiefs practice squad.
That was my analysis of the Chiefs running backs and their chances of making the team. The line will keep on moving with these projections. It will be time to look at the wide receivers in our next projection. As always, remember to check out Full Press Coverage for great sports content.