Clyde Edwards-Helaire Is ‘Franchise-Type’ Running Back Who’s Better Than Brian Westbrook, Chiefs Say

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Clyde Edwards-Helaire was the very last pick of the draft by the Kansas City Chiefs, but that doesn’t mean he was taken as an afterthought by the Super Bowl champs. In fact, the front office and coaching staff gave some interviews recently where they made it clear they didn’t take the LSU product to split time. Rather, they want him to be a franchise-type load carrier. The team expects him to be that kind of player, despite the fact some scouts had problems rating him as a first-round pick because of his slight frame.

Adam Teicher reported on Twitter Friday morning that Chiefs GM Brett Veach doesn’t think Edwards-Helaire’s size will get in the way of him being productive in the NFL.

“We certainly view this guy as a franchise-type running back,” Veach told the media. Head coach Andy Reid also believes Edwards-Helaire can get the job done.

A recent story by Tim Daniels of Bleacher Report reported that Reid and Veach compared the former LSU running back to Brian Westbrook. The article said Veach told Reid to watch some film of the LSU player and see if he didn’t see some of Westbrook in him.

According to Daniels, after Reid watched the film, he told Veach he was underselling the prospect’s talent. Reid stated he thought the former Tiger was better than Westbrook.

Westbrook was a bit of a steal by Reid when he coached the Philadelphia Eagles. They selected him in the third round of the 2002 draft and he had a quiet rookie season, rushing for just 193 yards and starting three games. The next year, he was given the opportunity to show what he could do and had nearly 1,000 yards from scrimmage, thanks to more than 600 yards rushing, 37 catches and 337 receiving yards.

In 2006 and 2007, Westbrook shaped himself into one of the best players in the NFL. In 2007, he rushed for over 1,300 yards and caught 90 passes for more than 700 yards. In 2012, Reid called Westbrook — who finished his career by being named to two All-Pro teams — the smartest player he’d ever coached.

While Edwards-Helaire’s football pedigree has yet to be formulated, he did put up a junior season at LSU that’s comparable to what Westbrook was doing with the Eagles. In 2019, he rushed for just over 1,400 yards, while catching 55 passes for another 453 yards.

There had been rumors for several weeks the Chiefs were looking to take a running back in the first round of the draft, though the focus had mostly been on Ohio State University player JK Dobbins. In the end, Edwards-Helaire apparently graded higher for the team.