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The Kansas City Chiefs added another dimension to their offense when they selected Clyde Edwards-Helaire with the last pick in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft. While the initial plan wasn’t to be Edwards-Helaire become the featured back, that changed when Damien Williams opted out of the season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The initial reviews of Edwards-Helaire are in after a week of padded practices, and as Chiefs general manager Brett Veach told NBC’s Peter King the rookie running back is “on pace to have a big year, to be our primary ballcarrier.”

Edwards is going to be the featured back in a Kansas City offense that features Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill, Mecole Hardman, Sammy Watkins, Travis Kelce and Demarcus Robinson — so the opportunities will be there to put up big numbers as defenses will be keying in on other weapons in the Chiefs’ offense arsenal. 

Prior to drafting Edwards-Helaire, the Chiefs have used a committee approach at running back since Kareem Hunt was released in 2018. Williams led Kansas City with 111 carries last season while LeSean McCoy finished with 101 and Darrel Williams had 41. Darrel Williams is the leading rusher returning to the Chiefs while Darwin Thompson (37 carries) is second, as both backs finished with 269 rushing yards combined last season. 

While Williams and Thompson are in the mix for getting carries, Edwards-Helaire should get the overwhelming majority of the carries — likely similar to the share Hunt received his rookie year in 2017. Chiefs running backs carried the ball 312 times in 2017, with Hunt receiving an astonishing 87.2% of the carries. Hunt finished with a league-leading 1,327 yards and eight touchdowns, which isn’t counting the 53 catches for 455 yards and three touchdowns (1,792 yards from scrimmage and 11 touchdowns). 

In short, Edwards-Helaire will earn plenty of opportunities in the Chiefs backfield, especially since he only had 370 carries in three seasons at LSU (439 touches). That’s a significantly less amount than Hunt, who had 855 touches in his four years at Toledo. The Chiefs still ran Hunt 272 times, the fourth-most in Reid’s 21 seasons as a head coach with the Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles. 

There’s an excellent chance Edwards-Helaire gets that many carries in Kansas City given their running back situation. 

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