The 2022 season has been a major success for most of the Kansas City Chiefs' roster. Third-year running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire might be the exception to that rule.
For Edwards-Helaire, the 2022 season has felt like déjà vu — another hot start derailed by injury and another season of battling for snaps against others at the position. He's been on injured reserve since the Los Angeles Chargers game in November. In those 11 games. He logged 302 rush yards, 151 receiving yards and six total touchdowns.
Chiefs rookie running Isiah Pacheco followed through on his draft-day promise to "take a grown man's job," as even before the injury, the Chiefs were moving toward Pacheco.
Despite some highs in his rookie year, it's easy to look at the draft selection of Clyde Edwards-Helaire in the first round and conclude that it was a poor selection. I agree.
However, that doesn't mean Edwards-Helaire comes with no value to the Chiefs now, even if they have found a quality replacement for him. Edwards-Helaire has been spotted at practice the past few weeks and appears healthy enough to be activated.
Should the Chiefs consider activating him for Super Bowl LVII?
The answer to that question really depends on two factors.
It's difficult to say definitively what Edwards-Helaire's role is in the current iteration of the Chiefs' offense. Since he's been placed on injured reserve, the Chiefs have featured Pacheco and Jerick McKinnon as a nice tandem in both the running and passing game. It's important that the Chiefs don't interrupt that flow by trying to force Edwards-Helaire into that committee.
Pacheco has been crucial to the Chiefs' postseason success, and McKinnon will have a huge role in pass protection against the Eagles' elite pass rush. Ultimately, for the Chiefs, they need to decide on who will provide the best snaps: Edwards-Helaire or Ronald Jones.
Jones has gotten very few snaps in this offense and is redundant to Pacheco's skill set.
Some of Edwards-Helaire's best moments in the last two years have come as a change-of-pace back. He seems to give a different look than other running backs the Chiefs have on the roster. Edwards-Helaire's low center of gravity and shiftiness make him hard to bring down, and his lack of size makes it easy for him to get lost behind his blockers. He's also been a weapon in the red zone for the Chiefs.
Edwards-Helaire has been a part of some great scramble drills for Patrick Mahomes, something else that Jones does not do well.
The bottom line
Really, the choice between Edwards-Healire and Jones should be easy, so long as Edwards-Helaire is healthy. Especially given the lack of wide receiver depth the Chiefs have headed into this game due to injury, any player who can present a threat in the passing game should be considered.
However, we've all seen Edwards-Helaire's limitations and know he should not be forced into the healthy rotation of Pacheco and McKinnon. The Chiefs should target only a few touches for Clyde if they activate him. Five to seven touches at the most, enough to make the Eagles defend his style but not too much to expose his shortcomings.
Edwards-Helaire's future in Kansas City is questionable at best, but he can still have value for the team in this final game if utilized correctly. The good news is the Chiefs' third running back is likely not going to play a significant factor in the Super Bowl.
The Chiefs have two running backs (Edwards-Helaire and Jones) with experience in the big game, which also is a nice little benefit of having one of them active this Sunday.