We were unsure at first.
When Knile Davis was selected as the Kansas City Chiefs' pick in the third round of the 2013 NFL Draft, the response were mixed to say the least. Some praised the most as a high-risk, high-reward scenario that could flourish with Andy Reid's coaching. Others blasted the pick and said it was way too high given Davis' penchant for fumbles, injury history, and disappointing final season at Arkansas.
If you wonder just how divided folks were about Knile's pick, check out this poll from last April:
The good news is that John Dorsey made the right pick in retrospect. Jamaal Charles is the focal point of the offense, but Chiefs fans will remember how ugly the dropoff is when Charles is off the field. The 2011 season was a long cruel winter.
Despite a slow start, Davis found his footing in Reid's offense and earned more touches as the season went on. Not only did Davis end up starting along with many back-ups in that final regular season game against the San Diego Chargers in Week 17, but he also found plenty of playing time in the team's playoff loss to the Indianapolis Colts.
In that game, Davis rushed 18 times for 67 yards and caught another 7 passes for 33 yards. He had a rushing and receiving touchdown and looked like a decent option when Charles is not on the field. He also showcased strong return abilities and brought one back for a long touchdown against the Denver Broncos in Week 12.
As we noted earlier this week, Davis had only 81 total touches last season (70 carries, 11 receptions), but he had 53 of those in the last four weeks of the season. Combined that with the 25 touches in the playoff game (after Charles' concussion), and you have the proof of Andy Reid's trust in the system. Knile Davis has officially been unleashed.
Going into his second season, Davis' learning curve should largely be behind him, which is good news for his incredible instincts. There's a reason the Chiefs grabbed Davis late in the third round despite the question marks surrounding him. At 5'10, 227 lbs, Davis outweighs Charles by 28 lbs. yet ran faster than Charles in the 40-yard dash before their respective drafts. Charles clocked a 4.38 40 while Davis just edged him at 4.37.
It will be interesting, then, to see just how much Reid incorporates his back-up running back into the game plan in 2014. Charles is the featured back without question, but Davis is talented in his own right and offers Reid another weapon to incorporate. It will be interesting to see how many looks Davis gets when Charles is healthy and how the duo will create headaches for defenses now that they're familiar with Reid's system.