Yes... it’s rankings season.
On Thursday, NFL.com writer Dan Parr ranked the top 25 rookies he considers to be best-positioned for success this season. Topping the list was defensive end Chase Young of the Washington Redskins (selected Np. 2 overall in the 2020 NFL Draft) and quarterback Joe Burrow (No. 1 overall). But in third place? New Kansas City Chiefs running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire (No. 32 overall).
3. Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB, Kansas City Chiefs
The fit seems too good to be true. A three-down weapon provides a havoc-wreaking offense with one of the few pieces it still needed? That’ll play. Think of the one-on-one matchups against linebackers that Andy Reid will be able to exploit with this dynamo catching passes out of the backfield. Patrick Mahomes got exactly what he wanted, which is bad news for the rest of the league. Damien Williams, coming off a 133-yard, two-TD performance in the Super Bowl, has earned a role in the backfield, but Reid has said Edwards-Helaire is better than his star all-purpose back from his Eagles days, Brian Westbrook. If that’s true, it would be malpractice for him to not give CEH the bulk of the workload.
It’s fascinating to see how perceptions have changed.
Before the draft, multiple national draft analysts thought the Chiefs would select a running back with the 32nd pick — but few thought it would be LSU’s Edwards-Helaire. Most thought it would be the more highly-rated Georgia running back De’Andre Swift.
While many Chiefs fans (including myself) would have prioritized a different position with the team’s first-round pick, Swift also had support among fans; in our April Madness series, Swift made it all the way to the final round — where he was soundly defeated by LSU linebacker Patrick Queen as our readers’ choice for the 32nd pick. Meanwhile, Edwards-Helaire had been wiped out in the opening round by Florida cornerback C.J. Henderson.
But once we (and the national analysts) knew Chiefs head coach Andy Reid was all-in on Edwards-Helaire, everybody got on board. Right after he was selected, more than one-third of Arrowhead Pride readers gave the pick an A grade — and four out of five gave it a B or better. One after another, national analysts like Parr have weighed on how spectacular the versatile running back could be for the Chiefs.
Whether or not Edwards-Helaire will live up to the hype remains to be seen. But on paper, the general consensus is that the Chiefs made a great pick.