Clyde Edwards-Helaire is already being raved about, as one of the top rookie playmakers for 2020. His fit in the Andy Reid offense is perfect for Kansas City. In fact, Reid and the Chiefs’ decision makers believe Edwards-Helaire reminds them of Brian Westbrook. We saw how well Westbrook did with Reid in Philadelphia, and Edwards-Helaire could be even better.
On the flip side, it takes time to get acquainted in an intricate offense like the Kansas City Chiefs’. Edwards-Helaire will likely share snaps early on. Also, the Chiefs have continued to roster four active running backs over the last handful of years. Predicting the roster and how each player does is difficult during this part of the offseason. However, we will try to envision that for the KC running backs, while looking into how the Clyde Edwards-Helaire draft pick affects the other rushers.
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We briefly mentioned that Edwards-Helaire would likely share snaps early in his rookie campaign. Shortly after the 2020 NFL Draft, general manager Brett Veach talked about this shared workload between CEH and Damien Williams. He said they expect Williams to “come in as the starting back.”
At the same time, the Chiefs view Edwards-Helaire as a “franchise type of back.” Kansas City believes he is unique and cut out for the job they are looking for. At worst, Edwards-Helaire and Williams can combine to form a dangerous one-two punch, with dual threat ability. The question there is, does the shared workload last during the entirety of the 2020 season?
For Williams, his numbers were obviously up last year, by being the top back at the outset of the season. He did miss some time with injuries. But, Kansas City trusted in Williams for a ton of carries late in games. He returned from injury running tougher and more physical. Meanwhile, Williams’ receiving element did not really shine through until the postseason. I would expect a similar type of load for Damien Williams in 2020. Which is mostly carries, and receptions lined up more for Edwards-Helaire.
Behind The 8 Ball
The two running backs who seem to be in no win situations after this Edwards-Helaire selection, are Darrel Williams and Darwin Thompson. Both have answered the call when needed. Despite that, windows of opportunity seem to be diminishing.
Williams had a fair stretch in the early part of last season. With Damien Williams injured, Darrel Williams came through with 75 yards on 17 carries early last season. Moreover, he had four games with multiple receptions. His style provides an intriguing fit in the Kansas City Chiefs offense. Unfortunately, Williams was placed on injured reserve late last season. He seemed ready to go for the postseason, but the team left him on the sidelines. That could be a possible sign entering the 2020 campaign.
Thompson is entering just his second NFL season out of Utah State. As a rookie, he rarely saw offensive snaps. Special teams opportunities mean so much in the Kansas City building. Nevertheless, Thompson saw just a handful of increased carries in two home division games late last year. He had a few important receptions at New England too. Yet at this point, it feels like Thompson is already seen as a low impact, late round draft pick, given the rest of the depth chart.
The last two running back options could do well in the Chiefs system, provided the chance comes.
DeAndre Washington already has a strong and healthy foot in the door. Being Patrick Mahomes teammate at Texas Tech has its benefits, while playing in the AFC West for the Raiders also plays a role. With Mahomes at TTU, Washington generated over 1800 total yards and 16 total touchdowns in his final college season. His late surge with the Raiders last season gave him a nice boost entering free agency too. His dual threat ability is exciting, while his rushing style can be punishing. His opportunities could be low, but Washington would be an enticing piece to play with in the Kansas City offense.
Lastly, there is Elijah McGuire. The former New York Jets running back joined the practice squad late last season. During his time with Gang Green, McGuire did well in a secondary role. He amassed over 3.5 yards per carry and over 10 yards per reception with the more playing time he saw. It may take a lot for McGuire to make the roster. There are chances that we have outlined though, however.
While Clyde Edwards-Helaire will be on the top of people’s minds, the other Chiefs running backs can provide a ton of upside. Because of Kansas City’s history with Andy Reid and this position, it would be foolish to deny anyone of boom potential. There will be unfortunate, tough cuts to make as well.
– Braden Holecek is the Kansas City Chiefs managing editor for Full Press Coverage. He covers the NFL. Like and follow on Follow @ebearcat9//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js Follow @FPC_Chiefs//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js and Facebook.