Kansas City's Running Back Breakdown: Full Evaluation and Depth Chart Analysis

Farzin Vousoughian@farzin21Contributor IIIMay 22, 2013

Kansas City's Running Back Breakdown: Full Evaluation and Depth Chart Analysis

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    The biggest bright spot on the team had to be the running game, but that was overshadowed by the team's record—so much so that Kansas City's 352-yard rushing game against the Indianapolis Colts was forgotten due to the team's limited success.

    Predominantly led by Jamaal Charles, the Chiefs finished fifth in rushing. Charles led the AFC in rushing and finished fourth overall last season after suffering a torn ACL injury the season before.

    But as strong as the team's rushing appears to be, it has some glaring weaknesses. The Chiefs also have some new running backs, which builds questions about how this team will do under a new coaching staff.

    In this slideshow, I will break down the running backs and go over each player on the roster.

Jamaal Charles

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    Jamaal Charles is easily the best player on Kansas City's offense. Without him, it would have be hard for the offense to function last season.

    Charles' breakaway speed allowed him to collect over 1,500 yards and five touchdowns. He also scored a 91-yard touchdown run against the New Orleans Saints in Week 3, giving him the second longest run of the year among all rushers.

    Charles had two 200-yard rushing games during the season, tying for first for most with Adrian Peterson. But Charles also led the league in another statistical category—one that can make a negative impact on a team.

    Beside Willis McGahee, Charles fumbled five times off 285 carries and contributed to Kansas City's turnover woes.

    Unlike Matt Cassel and Brady Quinn, Charles' turnovers were forgotten because of his ability to make up for it on the next drive.

    If Charles improves on his ball security, his name will be written next to Peterson's as one of the best running backs in the league today.

Knile Davis (rookie)

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    Knile Davis was a big name in 2010 when he was second behind Cam Newton in the SEC in rushing.

    But an injury in 2011 and seven fumbles in 2012 plagued his career, preventing him from reaching his potential.

    The Chiefs, however, took a risk and drafted Davis in the third round, and he has been working on his ball security in OTAs.

    In an era where many NFL teams operate with two active running backs, Davis will need to limit his fumbles in order to help Kansas City's offense move forward.

Shaun Draughn

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    It's hard to predict what Shaun Draughn's role with the team will be after Kansas City snagged Davis in the draft.

    Draughn tried to fill in for Peyton Hillis, but the results made little difference on the field.

    Coming out of North Carolina, he ran for 2,070 yards and 10 touchdowns. He hasn't been able to produce like he did in college and might be on the chopping block when the team trims its roster to 53 players.

Cyrus Gray

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    Coming off his rookie season, there is very little that can be made out of Cyrus Gray. In 10 games, he touched the ball nine times.

    From his seven carries, three of them went for first downs, which is always pertinent for an offense. But he was rarely seen throughout the year.

    In his second training camp with the Chiefs, Gray has to have a good camp and preseason to impress the coaches. With the experience he had at Texas A&M, he might have what it takes to be on the team.

    Gray rushed for over 1,000 yards in 2010 and 2011 and scored 12 touchdowns each of those seasons. As a junior and senior, Gray caught over 30 passes for over 230 yards each season, which would bode well under Andy Reid's offense if Gray can step up and bring the skills he had in college to Kansas City.

Jordan Roberts (rookie)

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    Like any undrafted free agent, Jordan Roberts has to do a lot of things in OTAs, training camp and preseason to earn a spot on the team. With his collegiate success in Charleston, he's got a chance to make the team.

    Roberts owns the school record for rushing yards in a season with 1,572 along with 18 touchdowns.

    In his last collegiate game, Roberts set NCAA records for most rushing yards in a quarter with 190 and in a half with 273.

    After falling short in the draft, Roberts must show that he can carry over the skill sets he had in college to the NFL. By doing so, Roberts could see some touches on offense throughout the season.


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    Anthony Sherman

    Anthony Sherman joins the Chiefs through a trade from the Arizona Cardinals as cornerback Javier Arenas was sent away. Sherman's duties have mainly consisted of him being a blocking back. He was traded because new Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians brought an offensive system that rarely needs a fullback. Reid's offense, on the other hand, might have some use for him.


    Braden Wilson

    While playing at Kansas State, Wilson helped protect quarterback and Heisman finalist Collin Klein. Under head coach Bill Snyder, Wilson experienced winning the Big 12 championship. If Wilson protects Alex Smith the same way he did for Klein, Smith will see good results in his first year with the Chiefs.


    Toben Opurum

    Toben Opurum played for three different coaches while prepping at the University of Kansas. Despite the team's struggles, he brought a lot of versatility to the Jayhawks. He ran for 554 yards and nine touchdowns in 2009. Since then, Opurum switched to the defense but is being given another shot as an offensive player.

Will Dexter McCluster Carry a Big Role as a Running Back?

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    Dexter McCluster made a big impact at Ole Miss as a running back and has seen some action in Kansas City in that position even though he is listed as a wide receiver.

    With the versatility McCluster has, he could do well in Reid's offense.

    So far, there are no signs of McCluster switching to running back or possibly lining up as a running back, but don't be surprised if that changes later in OTAs or training camp.

    Reid will explore certain options with McCluster in the preseason to see what role fits him the best.