Where We Stand: The Kansas City Chiefs Running Backs

As we make the final month run up to the NFL draft at the end of April, we'll be going over each position on the Kansas City Chiefs and evaluating what we've got on had. Sort of a talent snapshot before the draft, training camp and other roster changes kick into high gear.

I'll be posting these as the news gets into a lull. Last year's edition of this is here if you're interested.

Jackie Battle

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The Battleship was signed to the Chiefs practice squad in November 2007 and was put on the active roster not long after that. Battle only had 14 carries in the '07 season and he had fewer last year- zero.

Even if Larry Johnson isn't a Chief this season, I don't see Jackie Battle fitting into the Chiefs' long term plans at the running back position. When you're fourth on the depth chart and not a stand out on special teams, you probably wont' survive a regime change.

2009 outlook: Not a lock to make the final roster; could be switched out with a number of other low level running backs

Larry Johnson

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I know it's been a while since we talked about LJ so here's a quick update: the Chiefs are meeting with Larry tomorrow over a salary grievance related to his personnel conduction violations. There is probably less than a 50% chance that LJ is a Chief next season. He'll either be released or traded before draft day.

Outlook for 2009: Probably off the team soon; Could still be effective if he stays.

Jamaal Charles

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Ah Jamaal Charles. Is he a full-time running back? Um, no. He is not. Even though when he's been given the chance to carry the load he's done fine  - Week 9, 18 carries, 106 yards rushing - Jamaal Charles does not have the body frame to survive a 300+ carry season. He cannot be relied upon to be a feature back.

That said, Charles makes an awesome compliment to really any other running back. Speedy, agile...he's going to be breaking long runs for the rest of his NFL career.

Outlook for 2009: Definitely on the roster; should see more carries this season.

Kolby Smith

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Smith is the closest thing the Chiefs have to a full time running back, outside of Larry Johnson. In 2007, for eight games, Smith averaged 14 carries a game. During his breakout game against the Raiders in '07, Smith racked up 150 rushing yards on 31 carries.

Last year, because of injuries, Kolby Smith only had 35 carries. Like Jamaal Charles, Smith should see more action in 2009.

Outlook for 2009: Definitely making the roster; possible #2 back complimenting 3rd down back Jamaal Charles and whoever the Chiefs feature runner is.

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