Knile Davis to Kansas City: How Does Running Back Fit with Chiefs?

Gary DavenportNFL AnalystApril 26, 2013

Sep 29, 2012; College Station, TX, USA; Arkansas Razorbacks running back Knile Davis (7) on the sidelines against the Texas A&M Aggies in the fourth quarter at Kyle Field. Texas A&M defeated Arkansas 58-10. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Jamaal Charles is one of the best running backs in the National Football League, and one year after returning to the field off an ACL tear, Charles once again tore up the league, gaining over 1,500 yards rushing.

With that said, Charles also carried the ball over 280 times, and given the pounding that running backs take, it was in Kansas City's best interests to add some depth behind him

The Chiefs did just that as Friday's action would down, selecting Arkansas running back Knile Davis with the 96th overall pick in the 2013 draft.

Had this been two years ago, this pick would look like pure genius. Davis stormed his way through the SEC in 2010, averaging over six yards a carry, topping 1,300 yards on the ground and scoring 13 touchdowns.

However, a broken ankle wiped out Davis' junior season, and his return to the field in 2012 was an unmitigated disaster,

As a senior, Davis gained less than 400 yards, averaged less than four yards a carry and found himself watching the action from the sidelines for much of the season.

For that reason, and the other running backs who were still on the board at this pick, I gave Kansas City a "C" for the choice in my Chiefs draft tracker here at Bleacher Report, and frankly that may have been generous.

What's done is done, though. No use crying over spilled picks and all that. It's time to move on and examine just how Davis will fit in with Kansas City.

A lot of that will depend on which Knile Davis the Chiefs get.

If Kansas City gets Davis circa 2010, then we're talking about a player who represents the perfect blend of size and speed. In their scouting report on the 227-pound Davis calls him a "Big-bodied, north-south runner" who "runs with enough forward lean to run through arm tackles" and yet is "agile enough to spin off tackles inside and hurdle would-be tacklers in the open field."

Throw in the speed that Davis displayed in reeling off a 4.37-second 40-yard dash at February's NFL Scouting Combine, and it's not hard to see why the Chiefs were enamored with Davis.

That player is more than capable of serving as a complement to Charles, the "thunder" to his "lightning." That player could easily be good for eight to 10 carries a game and is a proficient enough pass-blocker and receiver to not limit the offensive play-calling while on the field.

However, that player was nowhere to be found last year. Davis looked tentative and sluggish for the Razorbacks a season ago. Some of that can likely be laid at the feet of the Arkansas offense that completely fell apart in 2012, but it may well be that Davis' extensive injury history has finally caught up with him.

Knile Davis is the classic risk-reward pick. He's undeniably talented but also injury prone. His physical traits are compelling, but as often as not they haven't transferred from workouts to the gridiron.

It could be that Davis will regain his lost form, and in hindsight a few years from now we'll look back and congratulate the Chiefs for their prescience.

It's also just as possible that Davis will flop, and we'll look back wondering what the hell Kansas City was thinking in drafting Davis ahead of the likes of UCLA's Johnathan Franklin.

Only time will tell, but as things stand today it appears that the Chiefs, after two very shrewd picks to kick off the 2013 draft, may have flubbed this one.