Going into this season, the backfield for the Kansas City Chiefs was in good shape with Damien Williams who filled in well after the release of star running back Kareem Hunt. However, this season has been rollercoaster at running back for the Chiefs.
Damien Williams has had flashes of greatness but missed the game due to injury. LeSean McCoy has had issues taking care of the football and has been inactive more recently with the return of Williams. Darrel Williams was starting to show some potential but was eventually put on Injured Reserve. Veteran Spencer Ware was brought in but was also put on IR after three weeks with a shoulder injury. Rookie Darwin Thompson has played a tiny bit but hasn’t been given a full opportunity in the backfield.
The leading rusher for the Chiefs this year was Damien Williams with 498, which is the fourth-lowest rank in franchise history, and the lowest rank since Donnell Bennett in 1998, who rushed for 527 yards. It is obvious that the switch from Hunt to a committee has not been generous to the Chiefs, so what do the Chiefs do going into the offseason with the running back position and is it time to freak out?
It is certainly not time to freak out about the Chiefs backfield. The past couple weeks, Damien Williams has played well, rushing for 189 yards and 2 touchdowns, adding on another 57 yards and 1 touchdown receiving. Williams has shown the playmaking ability he has and it gives Chiefs fans confidence heading into the playoffs. Remember, Williams is under contract for one more season after signing a two-year extension last year. There are other options as well for the Chiefs to add to the backfield this offseason.
There is a huge list of free-agent running back this offseason that includes NFL rushing king, Derrick Henry, Melvin Gordon, Austin Ekeler, Kenyan Drake, and Kareem Hunt. The Chiefs can try to sign one of the big-name free agents, but there have been rumors about trading for Le’Veon Bell and David Johnson. There are definitely options for the front office to pursue this offseason, but don’t forget the talent that is available in the draft.
This year’s draft class features great running back talent. J.K. Dobbins, Johnathon Taylor, and Travis Etienne highlight a loaded class. Currently, the Chiefs have been projected to draft either Dobbins or Etienne with the 29th pick in the draft this year.
Let’s face it. Running backs are interchangeable and you don’t have to spend big money to get the best. The Chiefs should keep Damien Williams for the final year of his contract and draft a running back, like Dobbins or Etienne to be groomed and get some playing time. Damien Williams has shown his playmaking ability that fits sell for the Chiefs offense, and by adding a young running back via the draft, you give yourself an insurance plan. The running backfield this offseason should be used by the Chiefs as a means to bring in a new young face, but keep Damien Williams with his final year on a cheap contract.