Analysis

Chiefs add veteran running back McKinnon before Day 2 of draft

The Kansas City Chiefs added a veteran running back hours before Day 2 of the 2021 NFL Draft.

The Chiefs added to their backfield without spending a draft pick on that position Friday. Kansas City signed former Minnesota Vikings and San Francisco 49ers running back Jerick McKinnon, a seven-year pro. The team announced the signing just before the second round got started Friday evening.

McKinnon played in a loaded backfield for the 49ers last season, rushing the ball 81 times for 319 yards and five touchdowns. That year came after the Georgia Southern product missed consecutive seasons with the 49ers with a torn ACL he suffered in 2018. After missing out on his first year with the 49ers, McKinnon looked to come back in 2019, but he again was placed on inured reserve. McKinnon signed a four-year, $30 million contract with the 49ers after playing for the Vikings for four years.

For his career, McKinnon has averaged four yards per carry while also grabbing 175 catches, including 51 in 2017, his final season with Minnesota. He entered the league as a third-round draft pick in 2014.

What are the Chiefs getting in McKinnon?

Kansas City needed depth in the backfield. McKinnon might not be what he was before his injury, but he showed flashes last year with the 49ers. He makes big-time plays, and the 5-foot-9, 205-pound back can bring that to Kansas City. He’s had at least one 50-plus yard run in four of his five seasons he’s played.

While his explosiveness will be a positive, McKinnon isn’t expected to have too many carries in each game. He’s averaged about eight totes per game. But his experience will help.

The Chiefs released veteran Damien Williams this offseason and most recently missed on signing Giovani Bernard, among other veterans. McKinnon probably won’t start, and likely will play behind both Darrel Williams and Clyde Edwards-Helaire. But he can push for playing time and add to special teams.

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