The KC Chiefs must come away from 2024 NFL Draft with a running back

The Chiefs could use more talent and depth at running back, a position that's being overlooked as a roster need coming into the draft.
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The main objective for the Kansas City Chiefs this week in the 2024 NFL Draft is to address the major needs on offense such as wide receiver and offensive tackle. Most would agree that the draft would be considered successful if the team effectively addresses tackle and receiver in some combination in the early rounds.

Nonetheless, a position that isn't getting as much attention but is still just as big of a need on offense is running back. Currently, the only running backs the Chiefs have under contract right now are Isiah Pacheco and Clyde Edwards-Helaire. Numbers alone make it to where Kansas City will need to look into drafting a running back at some point between this Thursday night and the end of the draft.

Secondly, this position needs a talent injection. Pacheco has been a more than serviceable starter over the past two years, but we saw his shortcomings at times last year, including the Super Bowl, when it comes to being that lead running back that can take over a game. Pacheco is a nice player, but there's a lot of upside in bringing in another talent that can be a 1A/1B and carry some of the load, especially given the injury risk of the running back position.

The Chiefs could use more talent and depth at running back, a position that's being overlooked as a roster need coming into the draft.

Then there's Clyde Edwards-Helaire. The Chiefs brought him back a few weeks ago on a one-year deal to be a backup, but with all due respect, something went wrong this offseason if Edwards-Helaire is first in line behind Pacheco. CEH had a nice little redemption in a reduced role last season, but he still only averaged 3.2 yards per carry and there were still too many moments where a play ran for him went for nothing and killed a drive. Edwards-Helaire is a "break glass in case of emergency" depth piece in an ideal situation. Put it this way: The Chiefs are one Pacheco injury away from CEH being the starter.

Is it still possible for Kansas City to sign a veteran after the draft? Certainly, but there aren't many names left that move the needle at all. The last one with considerable upside was J.K. Dobbins who visited Kansas City, but just recently signed with the Los Angeles Chargers last week. With Dobbins off the board, it puts more pressure on the Chiefs to draft a running back.

A name that fans are familiar with who played for Kansas City last year is Jerick McKinnon. However, McKinnon is about to be 32 years old and just barely made it across the finish line last season after missing a large chunk of the year. Running it back at the running back position is still an option and one many people may not necessarily have an issue with, but when you run it back with the same exact group you had last year you aren't raising the ceiling at all despite a very clear opportunity to do so. Investing a relatively significant asset into running back this week would be the wise decision for the Chiefs front office to make if they want to keep this thing going.

It's completely understandable why the Chiefs would want to bring back largely the same team that just won the Super Bowl. That said, too much complacency can be a bad thing and you want to bring in new blood and fresh talent to restock position groups that were maybe considered weaknesses hidden away in a dynasty. Running back wasn't necessarily a weakness, but it also wasn't a position that couldn't be improved and use fresh legs given the nature of the position and the status of the Chiefs' running back room.

With not much left in free agency nor on the Chiefs' current depth chart at running back, it seems rather imperative that Kansas City bring one in at some point this week. Ideally, one that could compete for the starting job and push the veterans already in the room.