While several teams go into the NFL Draft hoping to emerge out of the basement of the NFL’s standings, others are looking to prolong their greatness. As the reigning Super Bowl champions, the Kansas City Chiefs had fewer expectations than most as they picked their future talent.
By bringing in Clyde Edwards-Helaire, however, the team may have just given Patrick Mahomes and head coach Andy Reid another weapon on offense.
Who is Clyde Edwards-Helaire?
A three-year running back at LSU, Edwards-Helaire’s speed made waves in the college football community. Initially a seldom-used role player for the legendary football program, he grew into the team’s go-to target on offense. It took patience and commitment to the program to grow into that role, however.
In 2017, Ed Orgeron had the services of Derrius Guice and Darrel Williams. Watching from the bench, Edwards-Helaire learned from these players as the team rose to become one of the best teams in the nation. Although he was not on the field for more than a few games, Edwards-Helaire learned valuable lessons as one of the team’s role players.
By the second year, Edwards-Helaire was the team’s primary option behind Nick Brossette rushing for 658 yards and seven touchdowns throughout the season. It was his junior year, however, that Edwards-Helaire showed that he was a first-round talent. The team had a new weapon at quarterback in Joe Burrow, and under him, Edwards-Helaire blew the team away.
The junior running back ran for 1,414 yards and 16 touchdowns on 55 receptions, according to Sports Reference. Not only was he thriving as an individual player, but he was also doing so on one of the best teams in the nation.
At the end of the season, LSU was the National Champion, and Edwards-Helaire decided to declare for the draft. By dropping to the Chiefs, he might have ample opportunity to succeed.
Andy Reid’s promising history with running backs
Many great coaches prefer to let players sit on the bench and learn from the veterans when they enter the league. Reid, however, has no problem putting a player into the lion’s den if he feels that they are good enough to cut it in the NFL. While Edwards-Helaire’s spot in the rotation is far from a given, he will likely receive every opportunity to succeed.
Reid has famously allowed young running backs who were picked in later rounds to succeed as rookies in his system. The only players, according to Arrowhead Addict, that Reid has selected as high as Edwards-Helaire are Freddie Mitchell. Both players played in 15 games during their rookie years and started several themselves.
LeSean McCoy was a late second-rounder who became one of Reid’s go-to options off the bench. The same went for Brian Westbrook, who similarly was given several opportunities off the bench to shine.
More recently, Kareem Hunt was able to start all 16 games in 2017 after Spencer Ware went down for the year. He went on to have a star-making season.
Reid’s rookie running backs average nine games a season and two starts. In a league where many fail to see the field in any meaningful capacity, this could be huge.
How will Clyde Edwards-Helaire do?
Edwards-Helaire has all the makings of a great running back. He has the speed and the agility to flash by defenses before they know what hit them. Furthermore, he has the work ethic to thrive under a player’s coach like Reid. Add in Patrick Mahomes drawing a lot of the defense, and this rookie could have a formative season.
There are no givens in professional sports. Once somebody steps on the field as a pro, their college stats, and draft position do not matter. What matters is the skill set that a player promises and Edwards-Helaire checks all the boxes.
He’s young, hard-working, and willing to put in the extra work. Don’t be surprised if he helps bring the Chiefs to yet another level when the football season finally starts.