If defensive coordinators didn’t already have enough to worry about when Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs come to town, Clyde Edwards-Helaire is already making them reconsider.
The rookie running back became the youngest player in NFL history to rush for 130-plus yards and a touchdown in an NFL debut (21 years, 152 days) during Kansas City’s opening night win over the Houston Texans. With the entire football world looking on, the 2020 first-round pick burst on to the scene as the new bell cow running back of Andy Reid’s dynamic offense.
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Patrick Mahomes Calls Edwards-Helaire a ‘Star’
Fresh off of their Super Bowl LIV victory, Kansas City did not appear to suffer as dramatic a hangover as most typical NFL champions do, as teams look to poach expiring talent and contracts from the league’s most loaded rosters. Instead, the 2020 edition of the Chiefs brings similar continuity and star power to last season. The addition of Edwards-Helaire, considered by many to be a “luxury” selection in Round 1 of April’s draft, is a cherry on top for the champs.
During a postgame interview with NBC’s Michele Tafoya, the Chiefs MVP quarterback also offered up some high praise for his new backfield mate.
“The guy is a star,” said Mahomes. “He works hard, he works his tail off, his vision is incredible, and I thought the offensive line did a great job giving him those holes for him to run, too.”
Perhaps the only person more excited about the arrival of “CEH” than the front office is Mahomes, now with another weapon at his expense.
“I mean he’s been doing it since the day he got here,” Mahomes said. “He’s been working hard, he’s been learning from his mistakes and he’s been running the ball between the tackles and catching out of the backfield and so, I thought the offensive line did a great job of giving him holes to run through and he hit it every single time and so, he’s going to keep getting better. It’s another weapon that I kind of have in this offense and we’re going to keep doing whatever we can to keep moving the ball and scoring touchdowns.”
O.J. Simpson Predicts 2,000-Yard Season For Edwards-Helaire?
Thanks in part to a dominant Week 1 effort by the Chiefs’ offensive line, Edwards-Helaire’s strong performance has drawn the attention of many, including Pro Football Hall of Famer O.J. Simpson, who posted a video on Twitter on Friday discussing his thoughts on the Chiefs’ leading rusher.
“They’re going to run the ball more than they’ve run it in the past because they have this budding superstar Clyde Edwards-[Helaire],” said Simpson. “I mean look, first of all, this guy ain’t small. Everybody keeps saying he’s small; he’s short. He’s 207 pounds and five-[foot]-seven-[inches]. That’s a pretty sturdy guy. Every team is going to want them to run. They don’t want Kansas City to throw the ball. The safeties are never going to come up to try to play in those holes. So this kid is going to always have room and the first guy coming up from the secondary almost has no chance of tackling this kid.”
While fantasy football managers found themselves gambling away their top overall pick to acquire the Chiefs’ new playmaker, even ahead of established stars like Mahomes, Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce, it remains to be seen just how high Edwards-Helaire’s ceiling will be in year one or beyond. If you ask Simpson though, the answer is pretty high.
“This kid might lead the league in rushing this year, and that’s saying something because as I told you, I think [Tennessee Titans running back] Derrick Henry might run for 2,000 yards,” Simpson continued. “In any event, Kansas City, they look awfully tough.”