KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Running back may not be the highest priority on the Kansas City Chiefs' draft board, but it's a position that can't be ignored on draft weekend.
After the Chiefs waived Kareem Hunt, the offense's ability to stay on schedule in terms of down and distance took a dip. Finding a solution is critical for the offense to produce at the same level as last season.
The free agent market lacked quality depth at the position to adress that need at a reasonable price, but there are some opportunities in the draft to reclaim that element of power and speed, which creates a mismatch in Kansas City's favor, with some of the prospect fits below.
Here are Nick Jacobs' favorite running backs in terms of the best fits with the Chiefs:
ADDITIONAL NFL DRAFT COVERAGE
[Today — Nick Jacobs: Best running back fits]
[April 11 — Nick Jacobs: Best wide receiver fits ]
[April 12 — Nick Jacobs: Best tight end fits ]
[April 15 — Nick Jacobs: Best interior offensive line fits ]
[April 16 — Nick Jacobs: Best offensive tackle fits ]
[April 17 — Nick Jacobs: Best edge rusher fits ]
[April 18 — Nick Jacobs: Seven-round Chiefs mock draft, v 1.0 ]
[April 18 — Nick Jacobs: best defensive tackle fits ]
[April 19 — Nick Jacobs: First-round mock draft ]
[April 19 — Nick Jacobs: Best linebacker fits ]
[April 22 — Nick Jacobs: Best cornerback fits ]
BEST RUNNING BACK FITS FOR CHIEFS
1. David Montgomery, Iowa State
Height: 5-10 — Weight: 222 — 40-yard dash time: 4.63 seconds
Montgomery has fantastic vision and a great feel for open space. He is relentless in his effort and desire to get positive yardage on every play.
The former Cyclone has a unique ability to stop and start with the explosiveness to reach top speed in a couple seconds. He makes defenders miss with a simple stutter step.
Montgomery knows how to get small in the hole and not lose speed. He never stops driving his feet even after contact.
Montgomery doesn't have top-end speed, but he's very close to it and makes up for it with his attitude, nimbleness and short-area burst. He is also a good pass-catching running back who runs quality routes.
2. Darrell Henderson, Memphis
Height: 5-8 — Weight: 208 — 40-yard dash time: 4.49 seconds
Henderson is a home run-hitting back. He has top-end speed and an extra gear to outrun most defenders on the field.
Henderson also has a good balance to bounce off hits and continue to run at an explosive speed. He understands how to rise into defenders and punish them on any run.
It appears that Henderson has a better feel for where to find the hole with the quarterback under center versus lined up off to the side in shotgun. He is a good receiver with serious explosiveness on his routes and would be a mismatch against linebackers and safeties.
Henderson is willing to pass block and shines on off-tackle runs with his ability to outrun pursuit angles.
3. Trayveon Williams, Texas A&M
Height: 5-8 — Weight: 206 — 40-yard dash time: 4.51 seconds
Williams is near the top end in terms of speed but not at the very top. He gets stronger with each touch and demonstrates a better feel for cutback lanes the deeper he gets into games.
Williams' speed shines brightest late in games, when defenders begin to wear down. He has great cutback vision and is a terrific blocker in pass protection.
Williams likely will need to bulk up to be the feature back on most teams. Otherwise, he projects as a change-of-pace back with good lateral movement and an asset as a pass catcher in the flats.
4. Dexter Williams, Notre Dame
Height: 5-11 — Weight: 212 — 40-yard dash time: 4.57 seconds
Williams is the home run-hitting back the Chiefs lack. He reaches top speed in only four steps, so he can hit the corner quickly and has a strong lower body to break tackles.
Williams' speed in a mismatch in the passing game and his cuts are fluid. He will need help to improve his pass-blocking technique in the NFL.
But Williams can cover 10 yards quickly, though his feel for the cutback lanes will need a little work as well.
5. Rodney Anderson, Oklahoma
Height: 6-1 — Weight: 220 — 40-yard dash time: n/a
The big concern for Anderson is injuries. He sustained three season-ending injuries in four years.
Anderson broke his leg in 2015, suffered a fractured vertebra in his neck in 2016, and sustained a knee injury in 2018.
When healthy, Anderson is one of the faster backs with good straight-line speed, but the injuries are a massive concern despite his ability.
6. Devin Singletary, Florida Atlantic
Height: 5-7 — Weight: 203 — 40-yard dash time: 4.66 seconds
Singletary has good burst on off-tackle runs, but he lacks elite speed and explosiveness or he'd be higher on this list. He has good vision and a strong lower body to break tackles.
Singletary displays a good jump cut and stays square to the hole. He also is effective in the passing game and willing to cut block/sacrifice his body in pass protection. Singletary understands how to lower the shoulder when necessary and punish defenders.
7. Devine Ozigbo, Nebraska
Height: 6-0 — Weight: 235 — 40-yard dash time: 4.54 seconds
His size is similar to Kareem Hunt's plus he also has really good vision and can make some cuts look effortless for a guy his size.
Ozigbo has better balance than you would expect. He catches the ball cleanly in the open field and turns up quick, flashing deceptive speed and great instincts in the open field. He can be the rare power back in a zone scheme who also effectively runs out of shotgun.
Ozigbo is a great blend of athletic ability and size that borders between Hunt and LeGarette Blount.
8. Marquise Young, Massachusetts
Height: 6-1 — Weight: 210 — 40-yard dash time: 4.49 seconds
Young is a diamond in the rough. He has home run-hitting speed and can take any play the distance with solid blocking in addition to being a tough runner who can make defenders miss.
Young has a good balance of speed and power to outrun defenders but also break arm tackles. He runs hard and relentless and also has better vision than expected.
9. Mike Weber, Ohio State
Height: 5-9 — Weight: 211 — 40-yard dash time: 4.47 seconds
Weber is at his best when he gets to the second level and lets his instincts take over. He has good speed but lacks the top-end separation, though he does show good lateral quickness.
Weber is a solid zone runner but really shines behind center and on cutback runs. He is not a punishing back, running with more of a finesse style, so he likely would be a complementary back in the Chiefs' scheme.
10. Jalin Moore, Appalachian State
Height: 5-10 — Weight: 211 — 40-yard dash time: n/a
Moore is another back similar to Kareem Hunt in size. He has good overall athletic ability, though not elite.
In pass blocking, Moore will gladly cut block a defender and, with the ball in his hands, he knows how to get low and rise up into defenders.
That makes Moore a power runner who could become great with the right coaching. He catches the ball smoothly out of the backfield and has solid vision.
11. Justice Hill, Oklahoma State
Height: 5-9 — Weight: 198 — 40-yard dash time: 4.40 seconds
Hill has arguably the best speed of any running back in the Draft, approaching Tyreek Hill territory. He has an extra gear when he hits the second level.
Justice is strong enough to break tackles and drives with his legs. He has insane balance and ability to maintain his speed while changing directions and also will also sacrifice his body in pass protection.
12. Benny Snell, Kentucky
Height: 5-10 — Weight: 224 — 40-yard dash time: 4.66 seconds
Snell has a similar strong, powerful build on tape to Kareem Hunt. He also has good vision and good speed for his size and can break tackles.
Snell lacks the top-end burst, but he has deceptive speed for his stature.
13. Alexander Mattison, Boise State
Height: 5-10 — Weight: 221 — 40-yard dash time: 4.67 seconds
Mattison has a unique blend of strength, size and speed. Combined with good patience in his running style, he shows an ability to pick the correct hole and accelerate at the perfect moment. Mattison turns it into an art form at times like Le'Veon Bell.
He also has a the right amount of power to gain extra yards with enough shake to make a tackler miss then accelerate after the contact.
Mattison's leg drive is impressive and he is determined to punish defenders who try and tackle him.
14. Jordan Scarlett, Florida
Height: 5-10 — Weight: 208 — 40-yard dash time: 4.47 seconds
Scarlett's running style is based on his tremendous speed and cutback ability. He is dangerous with the ball in his hands in the passing game.
The open field is where Scarlett shines the most, but he will need a strong running backs coach to help him refine most of the fundamentals in his game.
15. Elijah Holyfield, Georgia
Height: 5-10 — Weight: 217 — 40-yard dash time: 4.78 seconds
The son of former heavyweight boxing champion Evander Holyfield, Elijah carried some of his dad's tendencies to the football field. He is a power back with who can drag defenders.
Heolyfield's running style is similar to Olathe native Darren Sproles, but at a slower pace.
Holyfield reaches his top-end speed when bouncing the run off tackle or getting a straight-line run with good blocking ahead. He has really good jump cuts and stays square to the hole.
Not surprisingly, Holyfield is violent in pass protection with great technique to handle the oncoming rushers. He makes defenders miss with his jump cuts and has good vision to go with it.
He won't be the fastest back on the team, but he's willing to get the tough yardage and to run with attitude.
16. Miles Sanders, Penn State
Height: 5-10 — Weight: 211 — 40-yard dash time: 4.49 seconds
Sanders is more of a one-cut running back between the tackles. He appears to be a straight-line runner who slows down on zone and stretch runs.
Sanders isn't really able to make defenders miss, but he's a willing blocker in pass protection and has good hands out of the backfield. He is reminiscent of a more-polished and faster Knile Davis.
The Chiefs can improve their overall offense with the addition of a back who can fill the void left by Hunt's dismissal.
To do so, Kansas City likely will need to invest a late second-round pick for one of the top backs on this list, but several good running backs who fit the scheme — think players seven through sixteen above — should be available in the fourth round or later.