Jerick McKinnon – The Unsung Hero of Kansas City’s Backfield
By: Justin Miles (@justm1les)
It is quite obvious that rookie Isiah Pacheco is the future of the running back position in Kansas City. However, with Pacheco emerging as a star, one player’s production has been somewhat overshadowed. Jerick McKinnon’s role thus far has been very underrated. Let’s break down his work for the Chiefs.
McKinnon started his career being drafted by the Minnesota Vikings in the 3rd round of the 2014 NFL draft. Jerick was a promising prospect coming out of Georgia Southern. He spent 4 years playing in Minnesota before spending a year in San Francisco playing for the 49ers.
He then joined Kansas City last season, where he played a quiet role. McKinnon had 26 total touches for 169 yards and a touchdown. He did so while only seeing a 19% snap count share.
This season however, McKinnon has grown into a very significant role for the Chiefs. He has seen a boosted 45% snap count. Through 9 games, he has racked up 33 carries for 125 yards, averaging an impressive 3.8 yards per carry. He has seen most of his production in the pass game with 25 catches for 212 yards and a touchdown. His pass blocking has been an underappreciated skill this season as well.
Despite the transition from Clyde Edwards-Helaire to Isiah Pacheco, McKinnon has consistently played a solid role for Kansas City. Aside from his impressive role, he has also been very reliable. He has had 0 fumbles and has averaged 6.15 yards per touch. His role has been very undervalued and I believe he has played a key role in Pacheco’s success. Pacheco’s dominant, strong running mixed with McKinnon’s explosiveness out of the backfield, seems to be nearly impossible to completely shut down.
McKinnon is currently on a near 1.3 million dollar deal but is set to hit free agency next season. It appears that Kansas City is officially making the move to Isiah Pacheco from CEH. If this proves to be true, a McKinnon extension would be the perfect move in my opinion.
Personally, McKinnon is a player that I have always loved watching. I think he fits exactly into this Chiefs offense and has grown into a perfect role. However, only time will tell and we have all learned by now to “Trust in Veach.”
Stats via: PFR