Clyde Edwards-Helaire gets the Green Light
The Kansas City Chiefs drafted Clyde Edwards-Helaire with the 32nd pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. Edwards-Helaire was expected to fill in the gaps of the crowded Kansas City backfield with the departure of LeSean McCoy. However, his value has shot up since competing starter, Damien Williams has opted out of the 2020 season.
Williams and Edwards-Helaire would have eaten into each other’s season long workloads, but with Williams gone, Edwards-Helaire gets the green light for a bell cow workload. If you’re doubtful of his potential production, look no further than Kareem Hunt, circa 2017. I had my doubts about Clyde early on, but I’ve seen the light and I’m trending towards the end of the tunnel, it’s somewhere in the second round.
In 2017, Kareem Hunt collected 325 total touches on 1782 total yards with 11 touchdowns. Interestingly enough, Edwards-Helaire recorded 270 total touches and earned 1867 total yards last year at LSU. It would appear Andy Reid finally found his replacement after Hunt was released from his off-field behavior.
The Chiefs, like LSU, have a loaded offense. It’s difficult to load the box against Mahomes in general but with Edwards-Helaire coming in, it’s going to be damn near impossible. I see him collecting at least 245 carries and 65 catches. In comparison, Hunt had 272 carries and 53 catches his rookie season. Edwards-Helaire has elite rushing and passing catching abilities, hitting over 1600 total yards will be no problem.
Competition for Touches
Clyde Edwards-Helaire wasn’t the only running back affected by Damien Williams opting out this season. They still have Darrel Williams, Darwin Thompson, and Deandre Washington, all of whom I believe will peak their heads in and out of box scores. We will see the supporting cast used in the running game for the Chiefs. The Chiefs ran the ball 375 times in 2019 with Williams and McCoy totaling 221 touches.
If Edwards-Helaire gets the volume I expect, he’ll get 65% of the rushing volume. Edwards-Helaire’s pass catching abilities will keep him on the field more often than not, but this supporting cast will get their carries here and there. Most likely in games the Chiefs are playing ahead. If Edwards-Helaire were to go down, there isn’t a clear replacement to fill his workload. While I don’t favor any one of them over the other, Washington has the most upside based on his 2019 production.
I wasn’t sold on drafting Edwards-Helaire as high as the second round with Damien Williams in the picture. I consistently saw Edwards-Helaire going at the end of the second round and beginning of the third; this was too rich with Williams involved. The Chiefs still have high-end pass catchers in Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce and I’m sure Patrick Mahomes wouldn’t mind throwing another 50 touchdowns. Now, with Williams out, I have nothing but Trust in Edwards-Helaire. Don’t be scared to draft him in the second round or even at the end of the first. I’m pulling him all the way up to RB 9 in my next update.