The K.C. Chiefs’ most recent Super Bowl loss still feels like yesterday, a stinging defeat that took the air out of a fan base who had been riding an almost two-year high.
The Chiefs had, for the most part, been the pinnacle of success in the NFL over that time span, and fans were starting to act as if the team was invincible. For a while, it was. The occasional loss here and there, maybe a lackluster performance in a win, was all that we could really complain about. For the most part, everything this team did made sense, and Chiefs Kingdom had every reason to cheer.
Now the sky has fallen a bit around Chiefs Kingdom and talks of a dynasty have turned somewhat sour. Things that were mostly forgotten about are now resurfacing because we no longer can look at the Chiefs through rose-colored championship glasses. Every move the team has made has shifted from praise to scrutiny. “This is what happens when you pay a quarterback all that money” sort of takes were everywhere (the merits of which are just non-existent) and every move the Chiefs made that built this roster are now being questioned.
This is where Clyde Edwards-Helaire comes in. Many fans were stunned that Kansas City decided to use a first-round pick on a running back just a year ago. Fresh off of a Super Bowl win, it was seen as a luxury pick, and one that many scratched their heads at.
This was the sentiment that permeated throughout the Chiefs fan base, and on a bigger scale, the national media scene. Most could definitely see the fit of CEH in the Chiefs offense. To some, Kansas City was returning most of their starters from the year before, so this was a chance to nab another weapon to take this offense to the next stratosphere. To others, this was a luxury pick that was turning a blind eye to the fact that the Chiefs may not have had many holes right then, but injuries and future contract decisions could leave them with some in the very near future.
For better or worse, though, CEH was a Chief, and everyone welcomed him in with open arms. Even the people who thought the pick was terrible still had some hope that Clyde would excel in an Andy Reid offense quarterbacked by Patrick Mahomes. After week one of the season, fans got even more excited.
Edwards-Helaire’s strong debut got the fan base buzzing. That is why the rest of the season was seen mostly as a disappointment. CEH ended the season with exactly 1,110 total yards from scrimmage and 5 total touchdowns in 13 games. That seems lackluster for the first running back off the board in the 2020 draft. Edwards-Helaire’s less than stellar season combined with the amount of hype he had coming in and his late season injury left a bad taste in everyone’s mouth.
Was the pick really wasted? To that I say, absolutely not. Clyde Edwards-Helaire is first up in our “Sophomore Surge” series, where I aim to tell you just why each one of the Chief’s 2020 rookies has a chance to improve upon their rookie seasons, and exactly what kind of impact to expect from them in the 2021-2022 season. Let’s start with the changes up front.