by Nick Ercolano
August 28, 2017
Spencer Ware was carted off the field in the Chiefs 3rd preseason game last night. While it looked like a major injury, it's believed to just be a sprain in his knee, so we're probably looking at a multi-week absence. It's unknown at this moment, but I've been scavenging through Twitter to see what these doctors have to say. This is what a Dr. Mark Adickes had to say about it:
Worth noting, the snap count for RBs in the first half following Ware's injury was 16 to 5, Hunt over Charcandrick West. We could see hi back around Week 3 or 4 of the regular season if this is the case. He is getting an MRI today, so you'll probably know more either tonight, maybe even by the time you're watching this video or tomorrow!
Before the injury Ware was undoubtedly viewed as KC's starting back, and going off the board around pick 60-65, RB20, which I thought was a value. Now, not only does the sprain probably slate him to miss at least the first one or two games of the season, but it opens the door for Kareem Hunt to supplant him as the starter in the backfield.
Hunt's seen plenty of work with the one's already throughout practice and preseason games so the third round rookie who the Chiefs traded up for should be all systems go. He's been nothing but impressive to me in August, passing the eye test with flying colors. He's one of the rookies outside of the top two rounds that I actually believe has NFL starting RB talent, and now he gets his shot. In college, Hunt ran for nearly 5,000 yards, smashing Toledo's all-time record and caught 41 passes in his senior year indicative of his rounded skill-set. He was named the Senior Bowl's most outstanding player, but dropped to the 3rd because of a poor combine, but the Chiefs saw past that and moved up to get him.
There's not much to be said about Hunt's Week 1 preseason performance, the following two games are where the 5-11, 215 pound back shined. He combined for 102 total yards on 20 touches, three were receptions in those two games. Charcandrick West is still far behind Hunt for touches, but it's possible as someone that the coaching staff has trusted, and racked up nearly 850 total yards, 5 touchdowns and was more than a competent pass catcher (20 receptions), that they use him as the 3rd down back because for the most part rookies have a tough time pass-blocking. Not saying it's a huge concern for Hunt because we haven't heard much negative about him in the pass-blocking game, but it's something to throw the wrench in for. Also worth noting, in their second preseason, after Ware was sat after a single rush and Hunt was done for the night, West ran wild for 113 yards on just 7 against the Bengals. He's only 26 years old, just sayin'.
Overall, the position will provide huge value to whoever gets the nod. Since Andy Reid took over as Kansas City's coach in 2013, their RB finishes have been RB1 (2013), RB6 (2014), in 2015 Charles was RB2 through 5 games until he got hurt, Charcandrick relieved him and was a top-20 RB rest of the season, and least year Ware was RB15.
So where does that leave Hunt in drafts, I think you to look at him around where Ware was being drafted, even higher. Think about it, the only reason Ware wasn't going higher was because Hunt was there as a potential threat, now the scripted is essentially exactly flipped, Hunt is the starter and Ware is a potential threat to his workload when he comes back, but you'll get a full Hunt for approximately 3 weeks without Ware, which is why I'd give a slight boost to Hunt over where Ware was going at pick 60ish. Prior to the injury, Hunt was around pick 80-85, RB28-30. I'd expect him to shoot up to around a 4th or 5th round pick. To not discriminate towards league sizes, I'd be comfortable drafting Hunt in the mid 40's, y'all can do the math. For those that purchased my draft guide, I will have updated rankings with the Ware and Edelman injury news out to you later today. If you haven't make sure you go scoop that, I'll link my store right here, it's a PDF instant download, update rankings throughout the preseason, ask those who've purchased, well worth it! And speaking of Edelman, as soon as this video post I'll be getting right into that video and it'll be up with the next hour or so. So, yeah Hunt around pick 45-ish, in the range of MFL ADPs, we have Ty Mont around pick 42 RB15 and then Carlos Hyde RB16 at pick 45, I'd take Hunt before Hyde but after TyMont, doesn't mean he'll be RB16 in my rankings but ADP wise, that's where I could see him settle. The next RB isn't until Mark Ingram 10-12 picks after Hyde.
Ware shoots pretty far down now, as we still don't know his return timetable, nor do we know how big his role will be when he returns from the injury. I think that pushes Ware back until at least the 9th or 10th round, maybe later. We have Frank Gore going off at 92, Terrance West at 99, I'd take both of them before Ware and the next RB is Eddie Lacy, which I'd easily take Ware over at this point.
To me, West is nothing more than a late-round flier, Ware will return in a few weeks and make him irrelevant once again, so I probably won't own him even if I grab Hunt, there's other guys I prefer in later rounds.
For what it's worth the Jags named Blake Bortles their starting QB, so that sucks for Allen Robinson. What a world we live in that a fan base has the right to be angry that Chad Henne wasn't named their starter.
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