(Photos courtesy of the Kansas City Chiefs)
Talk of Fame Network
LaDainian Tomlinson was one of the most dangerous and productive running backs in NFL history, so he’s qualified to serve as an expert at the position. That’s why, when he visited this week's Talk of Fame Network’s radio broadcast, we asked him which back from today’s game he’d draft first.
At first puzzled, Tomlinson finally made his choice – and it was surprising.
“I think I’d draft Jamaal Charles,” he said. “And the reason I say that is because there is something (about) the threat of a running back who can run it and catch … but, at the same time, be able to take it 80 yards on any given play. That’s rare. And that sparks fear in a defense.”
A four-time Pro Bowler, Charles does spark fear in a defense. He’s not only run for 1,000 or more yards five of his last six seasons, missing out only in 2011 when he missed all but two games with a torn ACL; but has more yards rushing (6,856) than any back in Chiefs’ history. He also averages more yards per carry (a staggering 5.5) than any back since the AFL-NFL merger and once ran for a team-record 259 yards in a 2009 defeat of Denver.
But we're just getting started here. Charles, who averaged 6.4 yards per carry in 2010, has 33 touchdowns over his last two seasons -- including a Chiefs’ record five in a 2013 game vs. Oakland when he had eight catches for 195 yards. The five TDs tied Abner Haynes’ mark, set in 1961 when the Chiefs were the Dallas Texans of the AFL.
And to Tomlinson's point about "taking it 80 yards on any given play ..." Charles has nine runs of 50 or more yards, including one of 91 and another of 80.
“If I’m thinking about a guy who sparks fear in a defense,” said Tomlinson, “it has to be Jamaal Charles. With everything that he encompasses, the dexterity he plays with … and that he has … to me, he’s the most dangerous playmaker from the running-back position.”