NFL Draft grade: Clyde Edwards Helaire is great talent, suspect value for Chiefs

The Kansas City Chiefs did what most experts expected them to do with the 32nd pick in the NFL Draft by taking a running back. What do we think?

The Kansas City Chiefs did not trade back from the 32nd overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. Nor did they upgrade the defense or the defensive line. Instead, the Chiefs used their first round pick on a running back to select Clyde Edwards-Helaire, the RB from the national champion LSU Tigers.

Edwards-Helaire is a small, well-rounded back who is an ideal fit for Andy Reid’s offense. He is a 5-foot-7, 207 pound running back who ran a 4.6 second time in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine. He’s shifty and an excellent pass catcher out of the backfield. Basically, he’s everything Reid has ever wanted in a running back. Oh, he is also the first running back taken in the first round on a team coached by team.

NFL.com says:

“Compact, sudden back who runs low to the ground with power and balance to break tackles and the agility to bob, weave and shake them in tight quarters. Edwards-Helaire runs with instinctive eyes and quick-cut foot speed. He doesn’t really have tells or tendencies and can alter the rush track when needed, which makes him so unpredictable for defenses. While he can create for himself, he’s better off working inside-out as NFL linebackers might be able to outflank him on pure outside runs. He has pop behind his pads but lacks short-yardage size. He has the talent to become a good, three-down back in time, but needs to improve in pass protection.”

Grade: C

This is a bit of a surprise. Edwards-Helaire was projected as a late second or early third round running back who most believed as the fourth or fifth best running back in the class of 2020. Other names often listed in front of him include D’Andre Swift, Jonathan Taylor, and J.K. Dobbins.

In addition to being a bit of a reach, the pick feels very much like an unnecessary luxury for a team that needed to create some competition or depth (at least) at multiple positions including: cornerback, linebacker, defensive line, and offensive line.

I thought there were a lot of places the Chiefs could have gone with this pick. In addition to trading down, the Chiefs could have looked at one of the safeties like Xavier McKinney, Antoine Winfield or Grant Delpit. The team also could have looked at corner, with Jaylon Johnson from Utah on the board or at an offensive lineman like Ezra Cleveland or Josh Jones. Instead, a shiny new toy at running back, already a crowded position, was the first round investment.

Next: A look at the AFC West's first round picks
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