Dark Horse Candidate #1: Darwin Thompson, RB
Let me go ahead and get this out of the way. Darwin Thompson is my current roster crush. Ever since the Chiefs used one of their sixth round picks on the running back from Utah State, I can’t stop watching his highlights and imagining Andy Reid going full mad scientist to get him the ball in space.
Thompson is a small back, standing at only 5’8″ and weighing right around 200 pounds. He doesn’t play small, however, and his balance and center of gravity are breath taking at times. Don’t let his smaller size catch you off guard because Thompson is a tackle breaking machine.
He was fourth in the entire NCAA last year in forced miss tackles, forcing 61 missed tackles in 75 touches. He was also second in yards after contact per touch, piling up a whopping 1,210 total yards after contact last year. Most will point out that his level of competition was low at Utah State, but Thompson’s game will translate to the NFL level.
The reason Thompson is considered a “dark horse” candidate for the roster is simply because of the players ahead of him.
Damien Williams is the starter going forward, with Carlos Hyde joining the fray this season. After that, the Chiefs will probably have Anthony Sherman take another roster spot at the fullback position.
This leaves potentially only one other roster spot for a running back, and that is if the Chiefs even decide to carry four. This means Thompson has an uphill climb to make the roster. Him making it isn’t what qualifies him as a dark horse however. I included Thompson as a candidate because he is a dark horse to earn the Chiefs starting running back spot.
The best comparison I have for Darwin, or the D-Train, is of a quicker Maurice Jones-Drew or a stronger Tarik Cohen. A player like that can do serious damage in an Andy Reid led offense with Patrick Mahomes at the helm.
Don’t get me wrong, I am a Damien Williams believer. Thompson won’t take his spot from the get go. Start paying attention during the second half of the season, though. Thompson’s production will start to climb and Williams’ will drop as the Chiefs approach the playoffs.