Involvement in the Passing Game
This is where Edwards-Helaire needs to show the most improvement, because his ability to catch the ball and make magic happen in the open space was pivotal in the arguments of fans who defended his selection in the draft. He needs to be more than just a running back. He has to be able to contribute to the strength of the team: the passing game.
Patrick Mahomes and Edwards-Helaire both expect this to be the case, and that is why this is where he will grow most in 2021. There are a few logical steps he can take to be better in the passing game, sure, but I believe he will be great. The first thing to point out is that he now has one full year in the offense, which (spoiler alert) I am going to touch on in a minute. I just wanted to bring that up here before glossing it over.
The next step is to just be acclimated with the NFL and what is expected of him as a professional in general. System aside, rookies go straight from college, to working out for the combine, to the draft, to training camp. It is a whirlwind, and despite this, some NFL rookies excel (see: Justin Jefferson). Some take more seasoning. Throw in the fact that covid made it an extra wonky year, and it is reasonable to say that this may be the hardest season to evaluate rookies of all time.
Now that that is out of the way, there is also more tangible reasons as to why CEH may have a healthier role in the passing game. The departure of Sammy Watkins leaves some targets in the Chiefs offense open for someone to take advantage of. While Sammy may have only had 55 targets in 10 games, that would average to around 5.5 targets per game, or 88 for an entire season. Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill are already getting their slice of the pie, and while Demarcus Robinson and Mecole Harman should see more work, they can’t just absorb every target.
Clyde has an opportunity to not only seize some of them based purely off of need alone, but utilize his talent to take this offense to a new level. If he is able to step in and see more work in the passing game, as well as just be efficient in the rushing game, his place in this offense could move from a role player who has to get the ball by default to a pivotal piece that the Chiefs want to get the ball too.