NFL Draft Profiles: Running Backs To Keep An Eye On

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Dec 15, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles (25) catches a 71 yard touchdown pass against the Oakland Raiders in the third quarter at O.co Coliseum. The Chiefs defeated the Raiders 56-31. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL Draft begins four weeks from today, so we are breaking down some of the different prospects the Chiefs may have their eye on during draft weekend. Today we take a look at the running backs in the 2014 class.

Running back is not an immediate issue for the Chiefs. Knile Davis, a third round selection in last year’s draft, proved to have the tools necessary to be a productive back behind Jamaal Charles. His performance in the playoff loss to the Indianapolis Colts after Charles left the game with a concussion only solidified Davis’ status with the Chiefs.

Kansas City also signed Joe McKnight before the start of free agency, adding depth behind Cyrus Gray for the third running back competition. The likelihood the Chiefs would actually use a draft pick on a running back would seem low as a result.

However, if you are a believer of John Dorsey‘s strategy that you take the best player available on the board then there could be a late round instance where the Chiefs decide to take running back who they think could be a playmaker for them down the road. And, hey, if there’s anything we learned from the playoff loss to Indy, it’s that a team can never have enough running backs.

Andy Reid is probably looking for three things when searching for a running back.

Speed. Reid covets players who can make plays in space, and no tool is more useful in that situation than speed.

Hands. Running backs are frequently targeted in Reid’s system. In fact, Brian Westbrook is the only player to ever record more than 80 receptions in a season with Reid as a head coach. Charles caught 70 passes out of the backfield last season, 25 more than his previous career high. Catching the ball out of the backfield is a must.

Power. Westbrook, LeSean McCoy, and Charles all have a power element to their game. They are not afraid of contact and they can bust through arm tackles. Reid isn’t looking for a speedster who can be tackled by a stiff breeze.

Blocking is, of course, an important aspect of a running backs game, but most running backs have to learn how to block – and who to block – at the NFL level. While a good pass blocking running back would be nice, most running backs can be taught how to block at the next level.

Who are some of the running backs who carry some of these traits? Let’s take a look.

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