Best of the AFC West: Running back edition

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Dec 7, 2014; Glendale, AZ, USA; Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles (25) runs for a touchdown in the first quarter against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Saturday Chiefs fans and thanks for joining me again to cover another edition of Best of the West. Last week we covered the quarterbacks and loved the discussions I was reading from all the different fans. This week we’re going to cover the running back position which I think provides an interesting conversation.

The AFC West is intriguing in many aspects but especially in the running back department. Jamaal Charles right now is the Senior in this class of running backs, the rest of division is very young at the position. In Denver you have C.J. Anderson who’s going into his 3rd year and last year was his first year as the starting running back. In Oakland things are little more unclear with the team signing Trent Richardson and Roy Helu as prior to their signings many thought the keys would be handed over to the promising sophomore Latavius Murray. Then in San Diego the a new chapter starts with the explosive rookie Melvin Gordon.

So who are the best and worst of these runners of the football? We’re going to discuss that below but bear in mind this is going to be right now who the best is based on what I saw from last year not overall career.

#1 Jamaal Charles

All fans in the AFC West realize that Jamaal Charles is the best running back in the west whether you love him or hate him. Although Charles didn’t have  his best performance last season he still had an impressive year none the less. Charles took snaps in all 16 games but there were three games he had less than 10 carries. Despite not playing a full 16 games Charles managed to produce 1,033 yards on the ground  (13th highest in the NFL) and nine touchdowns which tied him for third-highest in the NFL.

Pro Football Focus graded Charles at a positive 5.0 for the season which was seventh best among running backs in the league who took 60% of the offensive snaps. His best performance came against New England in week four where he graded a positive 2.5 score and his worst performance was in Week 16 against Pittsburgh where was graded at a negative 2.2.

Recently Charles was quoted saying he “felt 20 or 21” which could be the player just exaggerating his excitement from his recent diet change or it could mean that west will deal with years of more headaches from this future Hall of Famer.

Offensive Blocking Grade:

PFF graded Kansas City at a -22.6, which was second best in the division.

#2 C.J. Anderson

I’m basing these off a production stand point from last season not theoretically who I think will be better or could have been better should they have been given the ball more. C.J. Anderson produced adequately last season and while the offensive line could be more of reason for his 4.7 yards per carry average he does do some things well as you can see in the video. On 179 attempts running the ball Anderson ran for 849 yards.

Anderson was hurt and shared some carries with Ronnie Hillman who ran had 106 carries as well. According to Pro Football Focus, with running backs who took 50% of the snaps Anderson was ranked third in the league with a positive 19.8 grade. PFF graded Anderson with a positive .01 against Kansas City at Denver and a positive 4.1 in K.C.

Offensive Blocking Grade:

PFF graded Denver at a -4.1, which was the best in the division.

Next: Movin' on down the chart