On Wednesday’s mailbag edition of the Arrowhead Pride Out of Structure podcast, Matt Stagner and I debated our way-too-early 53-man roster projections — and how many of each position the Chiefs would keep. Two specific positions we discussed were the wide receiver and running back groups.
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Here were our thoughts on those positional units:
Seven (7) wide receivers and three (3) running backs
In 2021, it will be Tyreek Hill — and then a wide receiver-by-committee behind him. I know we usually use that term to describe the running back unit, but there’s no standout, second wide receiver on this team right now. I think they’ll want bodies at that position with the committee approach in mind, and the projected seventh wide receiver right now — Marcus Kemp — is an important special teams contributor. He’s someone that special teams coordinator Dave Toub will stand on the table and fight for. He also flashed some impressive receiving skills in 2019’s training camp before tearing his ACL.
I also believe second-year running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire should get the ball a lot more than he did last year, and I believe that will result in the Chiefs only needing three running backs on the active roster. They can elevate a practice squad back like Thompson potentially or veteran Elijah McGuire if they need an additional body in-season.
Six (6) wide receivers and four (4) running backs
Stags beieves Marcus Kemp is purely a special teamer, and there’s traditionally been a role for that when you’re down the roster at wide receiver and running back. However, he’s keeping running back Darwin Thompson as the fourth back over Marcus Kemp at this point. He believes running back is a position where you need bodies and special teamers. The Chiefs don’t like to be thin at that position; they added Jerick McKinnon when they already had enough bodies — we thought — to go into the season. We didn’t really see a strong need but they added to the room anyways.
Stags also thinks Thompson plays a lot like Edwards-Helaire in a slightly smaller package, but he plays in a similar style — so if Edwards-Helaire is down, maybe you’re using more Thompson in some of his snaps and then rotating the offense around the other guys.
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