The Chiefs offense had a historic 2018-2019 season, becoming the third highest scoring offense in the history of the NFL. Most of the success was due to Pat Mahomes being able to move the ball at will with his all pro cast of players, and early indication from training camp show that there will be much of the same in the upcoming season. Even with a loaded cast of receivers and an MVP at QB the Running Backs on the roster have the ability to make a huge impact on how the season turns out. I believe the Chiefs will keep four running backs on the 53 man roster, each with their own unique style that could help contribute to winning the Lombardi Trophy.
Damien Williams (The Starter)
At the beginning to last season Damien Williams was an afterthought in a season with promise and mystery. By the time the AFCCG rolled around there wasn’t a hotter back in football. While he doesn’t have tremendous break away speed, and is average at breaking tackles, Williams used his ability to move well latterly, and his burst out of cuts to put up some big numbers in the back half of the season and playoffs. He was able to put up 129 yards rushing and one TD on 29 attempts in the divisional round vs Indianapolis, and scored three total TD’s against New England a week later. Williams has proven to have sure hands as Andy Reid wasted no time throwing to him in the screen game as well, having averaged seven yards per reception. This and his ability to run and cut back in a zone heavy run game makes Williams the favorite to start again at running, which I think he will if healthy.
Carlos Hyde ( Power Back, With Hands?)
The Chiefs Struggled in the AFCCG to move the ball on the ground in short yardage situations. To counter that one of their first moves of the off season was to bring in battering ram type runner Carlos Hyde. Hyde had a down year last year as he played for Cleveland before he was traded to Jacksonville to end the season. That being said for his career he is still averaging 4 yards per carry for his career and has used his powerful style of running to be a mainstay in the red zone and short yardage situations for the team’s he has played on. While his ability to run with power and low pad level he could be utilized well in the Chiefs passing game. In his last season in San Francisco he had 59 receptions for 350 yards averaging just under 6 yards a catch. This could be huge for Andy Reid, not only giving him another bigger target to throw to in his screen game, but also keeping defenses on their toes in short yardage, not knowing whether its going up the gut, or if a sneaky little wheel rout is waiting to gash them for a score.
Darrel Williams (The Backup)
As an undrafted rookie free agent the other Williams didn’t get much playing time in his first season in the NFL. He scored 1 regular season touchdown vs LA off of a screen pass, and rushed for 1 TD in to ice a very snowy game vs the Colts in the playoffs. This preseason will show us more of what Williams can do, but based on his play from LSU he appears to be a bigger back with some decent breakaway speed. One area that all young backs can look to develop is the vision which I think is something Williams struggled with a bit but if either Dam. Williams goes down, he could be asked to handle every down situations, and given his size if Hyde goes down he may be called on for some short yardage situations. This preseason will give us a bigger picture of the plan Andy Reid has for Dar. Williams.
Darwin Thompson ( The Secret Weapon)
This could be the steal of the 2019 NFL Draft. The little big man from Utah State has stirred some buzz this camp for his whistle to whistle effort and rock solid physique. While all that is great for a player drafted in the 6th round there is more here then just a feel good story. Thompson can ball. In his final season at Utah State he rushed for over 1k yards, and 350 receiving yards with 16 total touchdowns in his final season. He averaged just under 8 yards from scrimmage for the season, helping Utah State to an 11-2 record. While the MAC isn’t a premiere power conference in college football Thompson still showed flashes. What stands off his tape is his ability to break tackles in the open field as well as at the line of scrimmage. Being another back with good hands just gives Andy Reid another option for Mahomes to be able to go to in the screen game. This preseason will give us an excellent opportunity to see Thompson in some NFL speed situations, but don’t be surprised if his number is called later in the season. He reminds me a little of Maurice Jones Drew.
Bringing Them Together
This group of backs has tremendous diversity, and the potential for tremendous talent. Their aren’t two better men in the NFL at figuring out how to utilize them than Andy Reid and running back guru Eric Bieniemy, who has gotten excellent results form every back to line up for the Chiefs in his time here. If successfully meshed this crew could be dangerous and make an already potent offense harder to beat.