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Pro Football Focus is not very high on the Kansas City Chiefs running back group heading into the 2022 NFL season.
PFF recently ranked every RB unit in the NFL, also assigning them to four different tiers. Not only are the Chiefs ranked No. 30, but they’re ranked in the fourth and final tier — potential weakness. They believe that the running back group in Kansas City, both starter and depth positions have questions.
Here is what PFF’s Ben Linsey had to say about Kansas City:
“The Chiefs were another team that struggled to capitalize on favorable rushing situations — light boxes and quality run blocking — in 2021. Clyde Edwards-Helaire has earned a first down or touchdown on just 20% of his rushing attempts since he was drafted in 2020, ranking 28th among 32 running backs with at least 250 carries. His impact as a receiver (426 total receiving yards in two years) hasn’t been what was anticipated coming out of LSU, either.
The Ronald Jones addition gives the Chiefs another option to turn to on the ground, but Jones saw his role diminish in Tampa Bay due largely to his receiving ability and putting the ball on the ground.”
While PFF’s assessment of the running backs in Kansas City seems harsh, it also feels fair. Clyde Edwards-Helaire hasn’t lived up to expectations over the past two seasons in a number of different ways. The Buccaneers had been trying to replace Ronald Jones over the past few seasons and there is no telling whether a change of scenery will help improve his game.
On the flipside, there is a small, but encouraging sample of NFL work from Derrick Gore. Should he take a step forward, he could really help the team’s depth. Isiah Pacheco, Jerion Ealy and Tayon Fleet-Davis all bring some very unique skillsets to the team, but they’re also rookies, so it’s hard to gauge how impactful they’ll be right away.
Another encouraging sign is just how much the Chiefs have been able to get out of their running back groups in recent years. They were never ranked near the top of the pack when Damien Williams was leading the way in the backfield, but always managed to get the job done.