It has been almost a week since Damien Williams opted out of the Chiefs' 2020 season before revealing his mother is fighting cancer being his reason for opting out.
A lot of people have been wondering if this means first-round pick Clyde Edwards-Helaire will now be the clear No.1 option out of the backfield. While I believe he is the first option I don't think he will be a bell cow.
Now, before I get into the details of how this impacts the Chiefs, I wanted to make clear Damien Williams and Clyde Edwards-Helaire was never a "Who is the starter?" situation. It was always going to be a dynamic duo. Clyde Edawards-Helaire isn't your burner type, rather he is someone that is better at operating in space and running between the tackles. Williams was more of your home-run threat, outside runner. They complimented each other perfectly.
Now, a big reason the Chiefs liked CEH was because of the fact he didn't have many carries in college and has fresh legs and minimal tread on the tires. They aren't going to come out of the gate giving CEH 20+ carries a game. Look for DeAndre Washington and Darrel Williams to get a significant portion of the touches. Losing Damien hurts because he was a change of pace back that would allow for more versatility and would've offered more veteran leadership.
There are some concerns with CEH being the true number one, though. First, he struggles with pass-blocking which is a big thing with Andy Reid. Second, He doesn't have the size and strength to push piles. Lastly, he doesn't have long speed or home-run ability like Damien Williams.
That being said, CEH should keep more drives alive with his superb vision and elusiveness that Damien Williams didn't posses. CEH's catching ability should replicate Williams' as they both had a strength in receiving. I just believe it is a bit of a stretch to say CEH was going to eat up most of the carries and instantly become a three-down back, He'll work his way into the rotation like all Andy Reid rookies and you'll start to see him more as he grasps the playbook.
The person who Damien Williams' opt-out most benefits is Darwin Thompson. I don't believe he was making the roster with everyone the Chiefs have added and the coaching staff clearly didn't trust him when their running game was stagnant and he still didn't get an opportunity. Hopefully, now he can showcase his ability and benefit from another year in the system.
This year's Chiefs backfield should certainly be better than last year's but also needs to be used responsibly by Andy Reid and the offensive staff.