The Maneater

Despite losing starting running back, the Chiefs’ depth will keep them afloat

With Spencer Ware out for the season, here’s a look at the Kansas City Chiefs’ backfield that remains.

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The Chiefs’ preseason has had a lot of positive takeaways.

Fans have been able to see the progress of rookie quarterback Patrick Mahomes, and Kansas City traded for a former second-round talent in middle linebacker Reggie Ragland, as well as former first-round selection Cameron Erving. However, the biggest storyline of the Chiefs’ preseason is starting running back Spencer Ware’s season-ending PCL injury.

Ware was able to solidify himself as Kansas City’s feature back a season ago, rushing for a little over 900 yards on 214 attempts and catching 44 passes for 447 yards.

While Ware’s production will be missed, it doesn’t look like the Chiefs will have a hard time replacing it. In a press conference last week, head coach Andy Reid said he thinks KC’s offense will be “OK” in Ware’s absence, as the team had a four-headed monster in the backfield before he went down. Here’s a look at Kansas City’s backfield heading into the regular season sans Ware.

Kareem Hunt

A big part of Reid’s confidence in the running back core has to do with the guy now taking Ware’s spot on the first-team offense.

Hunt, who finished his college career as the third all-time leading rusher in Mid-American Conference history, was projected as a mid-round talent heading into the 2017 NFL draft. Thus far, the third-round pick from Toledo has looked like a productive, high-value investment in the preseason, as he’s put up solid numbers carrying the rock as well as catching it out of the backfield.

Working from the RB1 position for Kansas City should give Hunt the snaps to make a significant impact in his rookie year.

Charcandrick West

West is Kansas City’s sole returning back from a season ago. With a drop in carries in 2016, West’s numbers weren’t as productive on paper as seasons past. In fact, the Kansas City Star didn’t even see West as a lock to make the roster at the start of the preseason.

Regardless, West has proven capable of a starting role many times — even this preseason.

Although Reid has made it clear Hunt will be taking the majority of the reps with the first-team offense, West will provide a solid option in relief. He flashes good abilities between the tackles. He’s also a threat to bounce it outside the tackles and catch the ball out of the backfield.

C.J. Spiller

In terms of storylines, Spiller is probably the most unique player in the Chiefs’ backfield this season.

Drafted in 2010, the former top-10 selection found some success early in his career with the Buffalo Bills, rushing for over 3,300 yards in five years in Buffalo. In the three years since he left Buffalo, Spiller has rushed for a little over 100 yards and had a knee injury that required surgery in 2015.

It’s apparent Spiller is looking to bounce back this season, but that will be hard if he’s sharing snaps with two backs who are, at the very least, on par with his skill set. It’s unclear yet how Spiller will be utilized, but expect a chip on his shoulder when he’s on the field.

Edited by Eli Lederman | elederman@themaneater.com

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