Emani Bailey gives Chiefs another violent runner for tough backfield competition

What are Emani Bailey's chances of making the Chiefs roster? What do they see in him? Let's take a look.
NFL Combine
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Emani Bailey has been a productive part of various running back committees for most of his collegiate career. After one year as the star of the TCU backfield, the Kansas City Chiefs are hoping he could be a part of a championship backfield at the next level.

Bailey is one of many undrafted free agents hoping to exceed any expectations with a strong training camp following an impressive mandatory minicamp. He joined the Chiefs following a breakout campaign in the Big 12 with the Horned Frogs to the tune of 1,209 rushing yards (5.4 yards/carry) and 8 rushing touchdowns to go with 25 receptions for 184 yards and 1 TD through the air.

After he went unselected in the draft, the Chiefs moved to secure Bailey along with UCLA's Carson Steele as the primary first-year competitors brought into the mix in the backfield.

What does Emani Bailey bring to the table?

Bailey has never had an issue staying productive no matter how much he had to share the load, whether during his first couple of seasons at Louisiana for the Ragin' Cajuns or after transferring to TCU to be closer to his hometown of Denton, Texas. While it was likely frustrating for Bailey to share the load more often than not, it also means he's got more proverbial tread on his tires than other prospects.

Bailey's footwork, instincts, and vision are all above average, and he profiles as a sort of Mighty Mouse back. His smaller size at 5'7" is powered by a non-stop motor and angry running style that Pacheco's fans will love. His lack of top speed will rarely break a play wide open, but he's smart to pick up what yards are available to him and his aggression will earn an extra bit of distance as often as possible.

Some teams likely saw the athletic makeup and moved on to other choices. Can't blame them when looking at his RAS:

That said, Bailey's never lacked in terms of production and the game tape clearly spoke louder to Chiefs scouts than a series of pre-draft drills.

The opportunity in front of Emani Bailey

One of the. biggest surprises of the Chiefs offseason has been the team's (seemingly) lack of concern at the state of the backfield.

Isiah Pacheco is entrenched as the lead back but staying healthy has been a legitimate concern for such a violent rusher. Behind him, Clyde Edwards-Helaire re-signed a single-season deal to serve as a general back-up—a player who can spell any function out of the backfield on offense. CEH's presence is nice for the sake of security, but his lack of impact when the door was wide open is telling.

Jerick McKinnon is gone as the team's pass-catching back—and remains a free agent. Is a marriage possible? It is, but the Chiefs also need to be honest about McKinnon's future given his age and injury history. It's here that the Chiefs have their greatest need at the position as they seek someone to step up and replace McKinnon.

Other players on the 90-man roster for the Chiefs include Deneric Prince, who was last year's buzzy UDFA; Keaontay Ingram, who has a very real fan in Brett Veach; and former rugby star Louis Rees-Zammit, who is likely profiled here as a returner and little else given his lack of familiarity with the game overall. It takes time to learn the nuances to hold down an important role.

As for Bailey, this means there's room to fight with Edwards-Helaire for a back-up role and to try to show off his hands to place himself in the conversation as McKinnon's replacement. While any path for a rookie free agent is a long, uphill climb, it is true that Bailey and any other entrant at running back has it slightly easier than most—at least on paper. That shot is all Bailey can ask for.