The league’s reigning highest-scoring offense may have struck gold again. Darwin Thompson could emerge as the next weapon for the Kansas City Chiefs.
Last year, the Kansas City Chiefs led the NFL in total points and yards. They may have found a hidden gem to help them do it again.
Despite the team cutting running back Kareem Hunt in the middle of last season amidst some off-the-field troubles, Damien Williams filled in admirably. Boasting the league’s 16th-ranked rushing attack in 2018, this area was neither a strength nor a weakness for Kansas City.
Fresh off the heels of a 12-4 season and a trip to the AFC Championship Game, general manager Brett Veach was tasked with finding a way to improve one of the greatest offenses in league history. In this year’s draft, Veach may have selected the franchise’s next big weapon coming out of the backfield in Darwin Thompson.
Thompson dominated in his lone season at Utah State, rushing for 1,044 yards and 14 touchdowns. Leading the Mountain West Conference in yards per attempt, the 23-year-old made the most of his opportunities to carry the football. Adding 351 yards and a pair of scores as a receiver on just 23 receptions, Thompson proved to be a complete running back as a junior.
In his first preseason game with Kansas City, Thompson recorded five carries for 22 yards and added a 29-yard receiving touchdown. NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein listed being a “viable leak-out pass catcher” as one of Thompson’s strengths in his draft profile, and that was on full display during his catch on Saturday:
Standing at just 5-foot-8, Thompson packs quite the punch for a player his size. His top-end speed is below-average (4.50 40-yard dash) but judging by the video above, his burst and ability to weave in and out of traffic may be his saving graces. Much like Hunt, Thompson makes up for what he lacks in speed with vision and the ability to break tackles.
It appears the rookie has already earned reps with the first team in training camp. With Williams missing time because of injury and Carlos Hyde‘s role with the team unclear, Thompson has a huge opportunity ahead of him. Kansas City’s running back depth chart is up in the air, and all it could take is another big game or two from Thompson to force head coach Andy Reid’s hand and make him the starter.
Wearing Jamaal Charles‘ legendary No. 25 jersey, Thompson has unbelievably big shoes to fill. Based on his film and various reports from Chiefs’ camp thus far, though, he might be well on his way to filling them.