SEATTLE - NOVEMBER 28: Running back Jamaal Charles #25 of the Kansas City Chiefs rushes against Earl Thomas #29 of the Seattle Seahawks at Qwest Field on November 28 2010 in Seattle Washington. The Chiefs defeated the Seahawks 42-24. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Sometimes I think folks are forgetting about Kansas City Chiefs RB Jamaal Charles. That or they think he won't be nearly as good following ACL surgery. I was clicked the link to the Sporting News' top 20 running backs for the 2012 season and I scrolled....and scrolled...and scrolled...before finally landing on Charles -- No. 16.
Charles has been ranked lower in the various offseason rankings because he didn't play but one and a half games last year. But even with that, No. 16 seems really low.
if you go by rushing yards, last year's 16th ranked running back was Matt Forte, who rushed for 997 yards. As Chiefs fans know, he didn't finish out the season, only playing 12 games.
I think Charles should and will pass 1,000 rushing yards this year, by a good chunk if he's healthy. He had over 1,100 yards on just 190 carries in 2009 and over 1,400 on 230 carries in 2011. Even if he got worse after the ACL surgery he should still be better than the 16th ranking.
I have to remind myself sometimes that Charles is coming off a major year and some of the expectations surrounding him -- like another near-6.4 yards per carry season -- aren't very likely. But this ranking knocked him down much further than I thought he should be, even with the injury.