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2012 NFL Draft: Jamaal Charles, Peyton Hillis And The High Risk And Reward Of The Chiefs Backfield

In one sense, the Kansas City Chiefs are loaded at running back. Jamaal Charles, Peyton Hillis and Dexter McCluster easily stands proud alongside any other NFL backfield and could end up leading the league in rushing. Then again, it’s also filled with questions — one that could make the Chiefs choose another one in the upcoming 2012 NFL Draft.

Charles is coming off of an ACL injury, and there’s simply no way of knowing how he will respond until he’s placed in a game situation. While Charles maintains that his rehab is going well, the NFL has mixed results when it comes to running backs returning to form from such injuries.

Hillis had a down year last year signed a cheap, one-year deal to play with the Chiefs. The obvious hope for the former Cleveland Browns star is that he can regain his form of old and cash in next offseason. In short, his stay in Kansas City might not be for long.

As for McCluster, the Chiefs have never quite figured out how to use him as a major playmake a la DeSean Jackson. Instead, he’s been plugged into various scenarios to varying results, and now a new offensive coordinator must learn to do the same. He’s definitely a candidate to break out, but for now he’s definitely a complementary player on the Chiefs offense.

If things come together in the right way, the Chiefs could own the best running game in the NFL. If everything falls apart, as it did last season on the team, the Chiefs could be in trouble. This means that the team could aim for a running back in the upcoming draft.

“I think it’s another solid class,” GM Scott Pioli said of this year’s running backs class at the NFL Combine. “There are a number of underclassmen making it another solid class of running backs. I think overall, the entire draft, it’s a really solid class all along.”

The Chiefs have already visited with Doug Martin of Boise State and could be in play for a Lamar Miller type in the second round as well. It will be interesting to see if the Chiefs find a back they like in this draft and how he will work into the system in 2012. Hopefully, the Chiefs won’t need anyone in the next year because everything went right. One way or the other, it’s likely to greatly affect the Chiefs’ playoff hopes in 2012.

For more on the Kansas City Chiefs, be sure to check out Arrowhead Pride.