The Chiefs’ first-round pick from last year’s draft was a helpful asset to the destructive offense but some say he fell short of expectations, what will his production look like in the 2021-22 season?
Former LSU running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire was not only the first RB selected in the 2020 NFL draft but he was also the first RB selected in the first round by the Kansas City Chiefs since 2003 when they nabbed Larry Johnson out of Penn State with the 27th overall pick.
So the bar was already set extremely high for the 5’7″, 205 lb running back that had just helped the 2020 #1 overall pick, Joe Burrow, go 15-0, win the 2019 Peach Bowl, and win the 2019 National Championship–both very handily–so with a track record like that it was hard for #ChiefsKingdom to not expect a major season from the rookie.
At the end of the regular season, Edwards-Helaire (a.k.a. “CEH”) only played 13 games, missing week 13 due to illness and weeks 16-17 with two separate injuries (high ankle sprain & hip), but he produced 5.5+ yds/att in four of those games.
People were skeptical about head coach Andy Reid and the Chiefs going after an RB so early in their post-Super Bowl draft due to the high power air attacks that QB Patrick Mahomes and the rest of the offense showed the previous two seasons, and in a sense, those people were correct to be a little skeptical.
He finished his rookie regular season with 803 rushing yards to go along with his four rushing TDs (4.1 less than what FanDuel predicted), but it was his pass-catching abilities that originally caught the eyes of Reid and Mahomes anyway so they definitely threw to him quite a bit, right?
Actually, they only threw to him 54 times (6th most on the team), 36 of which were caught, which accumulated to a total of 297 yards (8.3 yds/rec) and just one TD; all of these statistics add up to a grand total of 1100 yards from scrimmage in just 13 games, that’s *checks notes* 84.6 yds/gm.
In the playoffs he was used sparingly which was likely due to the recent injury and the debilitating offensive line, he was only used in the last two games for the Chiefs only rushing 15 times for 71 yds and 1 TD, both in games where he played less than 50% of the snaps.
The illness and the injuries at the end of the season killed what could’ve been a 1300+ yard regular season for the rookie, the first to do that since Kareem Hunt back in 2017 when he barely came up short for the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award.
So with a full season, a healthy Edwards-Helaire should be able to reach that goal, even with the hidden talents on the depth chart behind him, right?
Currently, FantasyPros is predicting Edwards-Helaire to have 938.7 rushing yards at the end of the season with an over/under of 7 rushing TDs; they also have CEH finishing with 367.2 receiving yards and an O/U of 1.6 TDs.
Those are both completely doable for the 2nd-year starter because not only is he now more knowledgeable about how NFL defenses attack him and the deadly Chiefs offense but also because he has a massive chip on his shoulder after hearing the talk all offseason about his 2020 season (even though it actually was not bad at all, just cut a little short).
So what do you think? Can Clyde Edwards-Helaire topple 1,000 rushing yards with the Chiefs this season? Will his receiving skills progress beyond last season’s underachieving statistics?