For most of the offseason, I have wondered whether Damien Williams might wind up being Kansas City’s most productive running back. They selected Clyde Edwards-Helaire in the first round, but Williams has the considerable advantage of having been around for a few years. But toss that out of the window now; Williams has opted out of the 2020 season.
This is a big deal. When we last saw him, Williams was putting up 133 total yards and 2 TDs in the Super Bowl win over the 49ers. Under different circumstances, he might have scored double-digit touchdowns.
Now it’s looking like their rookie back will get every opportunity to play extensive pretty much from the get-go. They don’t have much else at the position. They’ve still got a “D.Williams” – Darrel Williams – and they’ve got Darwin Thompson, but those are pretty nominal guys. They signed DeAndre Washington (formerly of the Raiders), and I believe he’ll be their second-most involved back. Washington played at Texas Tech with Patrick Mahomes (who lobbied for the team to sign him).
Maybe this prompts them to re-sign LeSean McCoy, but I doubt it. There’s not much left in his tank.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire ran for 1,414 yards last year at Louisiana State, while also caught 55 passes. He scored 17 TDs in those 15 games.
When Kansas City takes the field in September, I believe it will be with CEH as their primary running back. Washington perhaps gets 20-40 percent of the work initially, and things will be adjusted as the season goes forward. If the rookie is clicking, he could emerge as a Rookie of the Year producer.
All of this reminds me of Kareem Hunt. Entering training camp in 2017, Hunt was Kansas City’s No. 2 back. At that time, I expected him to open as a change-of-pace guy behind Spencer Ware. But Ware tore his ACL in an early preseason game, clearing the way for Hunt to play extensively, finishing the season with huge numbers.
In the last 20 years, 37 rookie running backs have finished with top-20 numbers (PPR scoring). Right now, I’m thinking Edwards-Helaire will be one of those guys.
|ROOKIE RUNNING BACKS WITH TOP-20 NUMBERS|
|2018||Saquon Barkley, NYG||1,307||721||2,028||15||385.8||2|
|2016||Ezekiel Elliott, Dall.||1,631||363||1,994||16||327.4||2|
|2017||Alvin Kamara, N.O.||728||826||1,554||14||322.4||3|
|2002||Clinton Portis, Den.||1,508||364||1,872||17||322.2||7|
|2012||Doug Martin, T.B.||1,454||472||1,926||12||313.6||2|
|2008||Matt Forte, Chi.||1,238||477||1,715||12||306.5||2|
|2017||Kareem Hunt, K.C.||1,327||455||1,782||11||297.2||4|
|2000||Mike Anderson, Den.||1,487||169||1,656||15||280.6||11|
|2006||Maurice Jones-Drew, Jac.||941||436||1,377||16||279.7||8|
|2001||LaDainian Tomlinson, S.D.||1,236||367||1,603||10||279.3||6|
|2008||Steve Slaton, Hou.||1,282||377||1,659||10||275.9||7|
|2006||Reggie Bush, N.O.||565||742||1,307||9||272.7||9|
|2012||Alfred Morris, Was.||1,613||77||1,690||13||258.0||7|
|2007||Adrian Peterson, Min.||1,341||268||1,609||13||257.9||5|
|2012||Trent Richardson, Cle.||950||367||1,317||12||254.7||8|
|2008||Chris Johnson, Ten.||1,228||260||1,488||10||251.8||11|
|2013||Eddie Lacy, G.B.||1,178||257||1,435||11||244.5||8|
|2003||Domanick Williams, Hou.||1,031||351||1,382||8||233.2||14|
|2016||Jordan Howard, Chi.||1,313||298||1,611||7||232.1||10|
|2000||Jamal Lewis, Balt.||1,364||296||1,660||6||231.0||18|
|2017||Christian McCaffrey, Car.||435||651||1,086||7||230.6||9|
|2017||Leonard Fournette, Jac.||1,040||302||1,342||10||230.2||10|
|2006||Joseph Addai, Ind.||1,081||325||1,406||8||228.6||13|
|2001||Dominic Rhodes, Ind.||1,104||224||1,328||10||226.8||12|
|2013||Giovani Bernard, Cin.||695||514||1,209||8||224.9||13|
|2018||Phillip Lindsay, Den.||1,037||241||1,278||10||222.8||13|
|2019||Miles Sanders, Phil.||818||509||1,327||6||220.7||15|
|2013||LeVeon Bell, Pitt.||860||399||1,259||8||218.9||15|
|2015||David Johnson, Ariz.||581||457||1,038||13||217.8||7|
|2014||Jeremy Hill, Cin.||1,124||215||1,339||9||214.9||10|
|2008||Kevin Smith, Det.||976||286||1,262||8||213.2||17|
|2015||Todd Gurley, St.L.||1,106||188||1,294||10||210.4||9|
|2001||Anthony Thomas, Chi.||1,183||178||1,361||7||202.1||17|
|2010||Jahvid Best, Det.||555||487||1,042||6||198.2||20|
|2009||Knowshon Moreno, Den.||947||213||1,160||9||198.0||18|
|2007||Marshawn Lynch, Buff.||1,115||184||1,299||7||196.3||16|
|2018||Nick Chubb, Cle.||996||149||1,145||10||194.5||17|