The Kansas City Chiefs running game took a step back in 2016. Getting that part of the offense back on track should be a priority, and Kareem Hunt of Toledo may be the answer.
One of the biggest issues for the Kansas City Chiefs in 2016 was the unreliability of the running game. Despite having a talented stable of running back, the Chiefs were unable to consistently move the ball on the ground. This was a major hurdle for Alex Smith and the offense to overcome, and it must be fixed for 2017.
Of course, the big issue with the Chiefs running game last year was the loss of Jamaal Charles. Kansas City knew that the season would begin without the star running back. However, it was not anticipated that he would only be available for a couple of games before going back on Injured Reserve. In his place, neither Spencer Ware or Charcandrick West could get going.
That puts running back as a bit of a priority for me when it comes to the Chiefs offseason. There is no clarity yet on the future of Jamaal Charles. Furthermore, both Spencer Ware and Charcandrick West are in the last years of their contracts. So how do the Chiefs fix the running back position? Drafting Kareem Hunt of Toledo is currently my favorite option.
Kareem Hunt – RB – Toledo
Coming into the Senior Bowl, I had given Kareem Hunt a 3rd round grade. Hunt, largely considered the best senior running back prospect, improved his already solid draft stock. The Toledo running back lit up the field with 118 yards on just 15 carries. He also added a reception for 11 yards. All in all, Hunt was almost universally considered a star of the game as he won Player of the Game for the North team.
That’s really just more of the same for Kareem Hunt. The Toledo senior never averaged fewer than 5.5 yards per carry or 850 yards in a season during his four years. Those are incredibly impressive numbers and highlight the kind of running back Hunt is.
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Kareem Hunt brings an ideal mix of power, speed, and elusiveness to the playing field. A patient runner who reads his blocks well, Hunt is able to get to the second level and make tacklers miss.
He runs with good power in his legs that allows him to fall forward when tackled. Hunt also shows good change of direction, which is important in the Chiefs offense.
As far as negatives go, Kareem Hunt doesn’t bring elite speed to the mix, though he can get away from defenders. Hunt also hasn’t shown a lot in the passing game until this past year, so that remains a question. Overall, though, it’s the jump in competition from the MAC to the NFL. However, he should have rested some concerns there with his Senior Bowl performance.
The Kansas City Chiefs need to fix their running game, both for 2017 and beyond. Adding a well-balanced running back like Kareem Hunt may be the answer to that. Hunt is emerging as one of my favorite backs for the Chiefs in this draft class. Taking him as early as the second round would be a good move in my book, though I think he should be available in the third. The Chiefs need a player like this.