As a first-round pick last year, expectations were high for then-rookie running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire. His first season with the Kansas City Chiefs was far from poor, but he didn't quite reach the bar set by many.
In 13 games, the former LSU Tiger averaged 4.4 yards per carry en route to 803 total rushing yards and four touchdowns. He added another 297 yards and a score as a receiver out of the backfield. Those numbers were solid, but Edwards-Helaire still entered the 2021 offseason with a lot of room to improve.
Not only did he spend part of his rookie year injured, but Edwards-Helaire was oftentimes pulled in favor of backs like Darrel Williams in short-yardage situations or two-minute drills. With some time to mature as a pass-blocker and overall player, things should be different this season. Arrowhead Report's Conner Christopherson joined me to explore that possibility on today's Roughing the Kicker podcast.
From a fantasy perspective, it makes sense to draft Edwards-Helaire relatively high. He ranked 14th in targets per game among running backs with at least 10 games played a season ago — and that number should rise significantly in 2021. Andy Reid's offense is very complex, and with more time in it comes a better feel for the game. Expect the second-year running back to become a legitimate threat in the passing game.
A complete offensive line overhaul should also play to Edwards-Helaire's advantage. Gone (if things go as planned) are the days in which the behemoths up front can't generate a steady push nor open up holes for their running back to shoot through. The new-and-improved Chiefs offensive line projects to be both powerful and intelligent across the board.
Running back value is a hot topic in today's NFL. With that said, dual-threat weapons in the backfield are extremely helpful to an offense. Edwards-Helaire has the skillset to be one for the Chiefs this season, and his familiarity with Reid's scheme should continue improving over time. The unit paving the way for him will be the icing on the cake.
Read More: Second-Year Jump: Clyde Edwards-Helaire
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