Kansas City Chiefs: Who steps up with Damien Williams opt-out?

Damien Williams, Kansas City Chiefs (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)
Damien Williams, Kansas City Chiefs (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images) /

Who steps up for the Kansas City Chiefs now that Damien Williams opted out?

The opt-outs continue across the National Football League, the latest being Kansas City Chiefs running back Damien Williams. Williams was an integral part of the Chiefs’ Super Bowl run, especially in the big game against San Francisco. He rushed for 104 yards and a score, including the clincher, and caught four passes for a score.

The Chiefs coaching staff talked up Williams to be the full-time starter in 2020 and have a big year. Now that Williams has decided to sit out the 2020 season, it will be interesting to see who steps up the most in his absence. Who will it be?

The obvious answer, of course, is first-round pick Clyde Edwards-Helaire. Edwards-Helaire had an amazing final season at LSU, rushing for 1,414 yards on 215 carries, averaging 6.6 yards per carry. He made a big-time impact in the passing game, catching 55 passes, and had a nose for the end zone (17 total TDs). His contact balance, agility, and receiving ability make him the likely candidate to win the starting job. Edwards-Helaire can do so much in that offense.

However, there’s a chance the Chiefs stick with a committee approach, and they have a couple other running backs on the roster who have experience. Darrel Williams had some solid performances during the 2019 season, most notably against Baltimore in week three. He can be effective on all three downs like Edwards-Helaire, and could end up being the feature back on early downs.

Finally, we mention last year’s fantasy football sweetheart, Darwin Thompson. The second-year player out of Utah State is a dynamo after the catch and in space with his speed and quickness. He didn’t get many reps in 2019, but things could change with Williams’ opt-out. Thompson is likely just an option in the passing game though.

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Ultimately, Edwards-Helaire is the largest beneficiary with the news, and the starting job is likely his to lose. But, we know the Kansas City Chiefs like the idea of a committee, so it won’t be shocking to see multiple running backs produce in 2020.