Friday, February 7, 2014
MVP replacements: Kansas City Chiefs
By Adam Teicher
Whether it's a marquee QB or an interior defensive lineman, no team can afford to lose its most valuable player.
So, who steps in if the unfathomable happens? Our NFL Nation reporters and Scouts Inc.'s Steve Muench and Kevin Weidl have teamed up to identify each team's most important player and which player in the 2014 draft each team can target to groom as a potential replacement -- MVP insurance. For some teams, their future stars may be slightly younger than others as draft-eligible non-seniors are denoted with an asterisk.
In leading his team in rushing, receiving and touchdowns, Jamaal Charles was the engine for the Kansas City Chiefs’ offense. It’s scary for the Chiefs to think of what they might be without Charles, except they scored 44 points in their playoff loss to Indianapolis mostly without him. He left the game for good on Kansas City’s first possession with a concussion.
That ignores two important points. One, perhaps the Chiefs with a healthy Charles for an entire game would have scored enough points to beat the Colts. Second, that was one game. What if they needed to replace Charles for a longer period?
The Chiefs drafted Knile Davis from Arkansas in the third round last year for just that scenario. At 227 pounds, Davis is more powerful and also might be just as fast. He doesn’t have Charles’ vision and cutting ability, but that doesn’t mean he couldn’t be effective for the Chiefs over the longer term as their featured back.
Davis brings some risks to the lineup as well. He was a notorious fumbler in college and had trouble holding on to the ball at times as a rookie. He is far less polished than Charles as a receiver and pass-protector, so the Chiefs might have to look elsewhere for a back they could trust on passing downs.
Davis has an injury history from college and ended his season by breaking his leg against the Colts. The Chiefs believe Davis will be ready to play when next season begins, but he’s still a raw player who would benefit from the offseason practice he might not get.
It wouldn’t hurt the Chiefs to find some insurance for Davis, their insurance for Charles.
Potential pick: Timothy Flanders, RB, Sam Houston State
Flanders runs with good balance and a lower center of gravity, providing him with above-average lateral agility. He also displays adequate vision and patience to set up and utilize his blocks. While he lacks an elite extra gear, he shows the ability to stick his foot in the ground and quickly get vertical out of cuts while also providing strong versatility in the passing game. Flanders could add depth to the Chiefs' backfield at a relatively low price as a sixth- or seventh-round selection this May.
-- Kevin Weidl