NFL

Clyde Edwards-Helaire Is About to Become the NFL’s New Christian McCaffrey

Any NFL fans who don’t know about Kansas City Chiefs rookie Clyde Edwards-Helaire should start reading up on him now.

The Chiefs’ first-round pick in April, Edwards-Helaire arrived in Kansas City with high expectations. The former LSU star is expected to start for the Chiefs and continue a long lineage of successful Chiefs running backs.

How good can Edwards-Helaire be in the NFL? Don’t be surprised if the Kansas City Chiefs found the next Christian McCaffrey in their rookie running back.

Clyde Edwards-Helaire dazzled at LSU

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Clyde Edwards-Helaire had the storybook rise from a sparsely-used player to one of the nation’s top running backs.

Only standing 5 feet 7 inches and weighing 210 pounds, Edwards-Helaire had nine carries for 31 yards as a true freshman. When he wasn’t playing special teams, Edwards-Helaire also caught three passes for 46 yards.

Earning more snaps in 2018, Edwards-Helaire had 658 rushing yards and seven touchdowns in 13 games. All of that set the stage for Edwards-Helaire’s breakout 2019 season.

On a dangerous offense that fielded No. 1 overall pick Joe Burrow at quarterback and another first-round pick, Justin Jefferson, at wide receiver, Edwards-Helaire took care of business on the ground. The junior totaled 1,414 yards and 16 touchdowns on 6.6 yards per carry.

Edwards-Helaire also turned 55 passes into 453 yards and a touchdown. LSU defeated Trevor Lawrence and Clemson in the national championship.

Kansas City drafted Clyde Edwards-Helaire in the first round

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Despite his size, the Kansas City Chiefs drafted Clyde Edwards-Helaire in the first round of April’s NFL draft.

The rich got richer, as they say. Walter Football graded the pick a B+ and praised the Chiefs for taking that risk.

“Andy Reid running backs need to be potent receivers out of the backfield, and Edwards-Helaire fits the offense so well for that reason. Running back was a big need for the Chiefs, and Edwards-Helaire will make Kansas City’s offense so much more explosive.”

Dane Brugler of The Athletic ranked Edwards-Helaire as the draft’s fourth-best running back.

“While he is quicker than fast, Edwards-Helaire always has an escape plan with his elusive quickness, determined vision and low center of gravity to break tackles,” Brugler wrote.

With starting running back Damien Williams opting out of the 2020 season, Edwards-Helaire should have the lion’s share of the Chiefs’ carries this fall.

Edwards-Helaire is about to become the NFL’s next star running back

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Carolina Panthers star Christian McCaffrey is the most versatile running back in recent memory. McCaffrey totaling nearly 3,000 rushing yards and over 2,500 receiving yards through his first three seasons prove that.

If McCaffrey did most of that without a healthy Cam Newton, just imagine what Clyde Edwards-Helaire can do with Patrick Mahomes in an Andy Reid-offense.

Although Damien Williams played well last season, the Chiefs have lacked an elite running back since they cut Kareem Hunt midway through the 2018 season for off-field reasons.

The Kansas City Chiefs don’t have many holes. But having Edwards-Helaire in the backfield will turn an ‘OK’ running back situation into one of the league’s best.

The Chiefs aren’t the only ones optimistic about what Edwards-Helaire will provide this year. According to Odds Shark, only Joe Burrow (+275) has higher odds to win NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year than Edwards-Helaire, who sat at +300 through Aug. 31, 2020.

Betting odds courtesy of Odds Shark as of August 31, 2020.