Jamaal Charles is the well-known running back of the Kansas City Chiefs. He is a first round draft pick in almost all Fantasy Football Leagues this year, might be the best home run threat at the running back position —Chris Johnson being the other potential home run threat — and he is coming off a season of 1509 yards rushing, fourth best in the NFL last year. But here are three things you may not know about him that will get you thinking he has a shot at leading the NFL in rushing this season and one big reason why he won’t.
1) This is Charles’ second season after ACL surgery. So many have forgotten, but along with Adrian Peterson, Jamaal Charles also had ACL surgery after ending his 2011 season after only a couple of games. Athletes who have this kind of surgery agree that it isn’t until season two that they start to feel 100 percent again. Jamaal Charles’ second year after having this surgery will come in week three, a far cry from Adrian Peterson’s December date.
2) Jamaal Charles has the highest yard per rush average in the history of the NFL for a running back. Charles’ career 5.8 yards per carry is higher than Bo Jackson’s 5.4, Jim Brown’s 5.2, and Barry Sanders’ and Adrian Peterson’s 5.0 ypc. Charles’ average of 5.3 ypc last year was beaten only by Adrian Peterson’s and C.J. Spiller’s 6.0 for backs that had over 200 carries. Charles has also never had a season rushing for less than 5.0 yards per carry.
3) Jamaal Charles might potentially have the best offensive line in the NFL. Branden Albert is a first round draft pick and by all means an above average to Pro Bowl caliber left tackle. Rodney Hudson is a second round pick center that blossomed late last year. Jon Asamoah is a third round pick that already is a top ten talent at guard. And Eric Fisher is the first overall draft pick of the 2013 NFL Draft, playing right tackle this year, although he has left tackle capabilities. The other projected starter on the Chiefs offensive line this year is a toss up between Jeff Allen, a second round pick with potential, and Geoff Schwartz, a serviceable guard in his own right. Their sixth lineman is Donald Stephenson, a swing tackle that also was a third round pick. That is a lot of top end draft picks making up this offensive line. If every Chiefs’ lineman plays up to their capabilities, this might be the best offensive line in the NFL.
But, here is the one reason and it’s a big one, why Jamaal Charles won’t lead the NFL in rushing this season. Andy Reid. In Reid’s tenure with the Philadelphia Eagles, he hasn’t had one back that had more than 285 carries in a season, which is what Jamaal Charles had last year. But he also never had talent the likes of Charles at the position either. Reid had Brian Westbrook, a career 4.6 ypc back, and LeSean McCoy, another 4.6 ypc back. They are no slouches by any means but no 5.8 ypc either. Both Westbrook and McCoy are known for their versatility in the pass and run game, but surprisingly, Charles also provides that with a 8.1 yards per catch as well. If Reid wants to win games in Kansas City this year, he is going to have to change his pass first philosophy because the Chiefs might have the weakest receiving corps in the NFL. If I were Reid, I would lean on Charles’ rushing and receiving to provide the offense for the Chiefs this year and see just how close to leading the league in rushing Jamaal can get.