The Chiefs used a first-round pick on LSU running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire. But they still have Damien Williams on the roster, and when the team reconvenes later this year, Williams will retain his spot atop the depth chart, at least for now.
G.M. Brett Veach recently told #PFTPM that Williams will remain the starter, but that Williams and Edwards-Helaire definitely will be in the mix.
“I got a chance to speak with [Williams’] agent and him via text, and I know Coach Reid reached out to him via text right before the pick, and then I think he followed up with him recently in the last few days,” Veach said. “But I mean, look, these guys are all supercompetitive, and I think like any player in this league, when a team drafts a player at your position, I don’t think they’re doing backflips and high fives, and I think the competitiveness comes out. But I think once these guys come in the building and once you get this thing rolling, I think everyone kind of gels as a cohesive unit, but our situation is certainly good for Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Damien Williams because these guys will be really good complementary players to one another.”
Neither guy is expected to be the workhorse at the position, despite Edwards-Helaire’s draft pedigree.
“I certainly think it’s going to be a shared load,” Veach said. “Damien has been in this offense for a long time and certainly has shown what he can do on that playoff run. The guy’s a really good pass protector [and] can catch the football. I mean, both these guys can run and catch and certainly Damien will come in as the starting running back and Clyde will have to come in here and compete for playing time, which we think he’ll do. But I think it will be a one-two punch.”
It may not be a one-two punch for long. In explaining the decision to use a first-round pick on a position that can be filled at later rounds in the draft, Veach dubbed Edwards-Helaire “a franchise running back” and “a true playmaker,” and that the organization views him “as someone special and unique.”
The Chiefs’ offense is special and unique, and if Edwards-Helaire is as good as the team believes he’ll be, the offense will be even more special and more unique. And even if the load is shared for now, Williams has a contract that runs through 2020; by next year, it could indeed be the Edwards-Helaire show in Kansas City.