A different skillset and mixed bag; Looking at what Ronald Jones brings to the Chiefs' RB room
The new running back has some real good qualities and some real deficiencies to his game.
If you had told me prior to the offseason that the Chiefs were going to bring in another running back, I would have been surprised.
Had I been placing bets, I would’ve put money on Kansas City moving forward with Clyde Edwards-Helaire and bringing back Darrel Williams and Derrick Gore. All of those players contributed something last year, while all of them (including CEH, who was selected in the first round of the 2020 draft) showed some shortcomings that made the running back by committee approach make some sense.
In all, though, I assumed that the Chiefs were going to bank on CEH being healthy in 2022 and give him a chance to live up to his draft position. And Williams has played a vital, if underappreciated, role as a receiving and blocking back on third down the last several years, while Gore has shown at least flashes of ability as a runner.
Of course, had I been placing bets I would have lost money.
The Chiefs signed Ronald Jones, a former second-round pick, to a one-year deal worth (reportedly, I haven’t seen finalized numbers yet) up to $5 million in 2022 (which means it’s probably more like a $3 million deal or so). It’s a move that screams “I want to go for a bounceback year” for Jones, who fell out of favor in Tampa Bay last year after a pair of seasons in which he was the primary back. And it’s a move that screams… well, I don’t know what it screams for the Chiefs.
It’s tough to know how much to read into a move like this. Jones was a highly coveted player out of college, which I believe leads some people to perhaps overestimate his potential impact. However, he doesn’t lack a viable skillset, and that skillset might be another sign of a change in offensive strategy (or at least an adjustment) for the Chiefs in 2022.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. As always, the answer for who a player is lies in the film. And so, like Justin Reid, JuJu Smith-Schuster, and Marquez Valdes-Scantling (whose reviews you can find by clicking their names), I went back and looked at multiple games from 2021 (five, to be precise) to try and determine what Jones does well, where he struggles, and how he potentially fits into Kansas City’s 2022 plans. Like I said, the skillset he does (and doesn’t) have give something of a roadmap for what his usage will be like in 2022, as well as what CEH’s usage might look like.