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Jerick McKinnon

Back made the most of his catches

Running backs are having a hard time landing contracts this offseason. Big names like Ezekiel Elliott and Leonard Fournette are still unemployed. And so is another running back best known for his receiving, former Kansas City back Jerick McKinnon.

For his part, Kansas City GM Brett Veach is very open to a reunion. "He's certainly a guy that we love," said Veach. "Once we get past next weekend, we'll double up (in chatting with him)."

It sounds, in other words, like McKinnon will be back with Kansas City in 2023, building on one of the more impressive running back seasons this century -- as a receiver, anyway. Working with Patrick Mahomes, of course, is helpful in this regard.

McKinnon caught 56 passes for Kansas City last year, and 9 of them -- over 16 percent -- went for touchdowns. That's the 5th-highest scoring rate by any running back to catch 5 or more touchdowns this century. His 9 TD receptions ties Marshall Faulk (and several other backs from the 60s and 70s) as most by a running back since the merger.

One of the four running backs with a higher scoring rate, Kareem Hunt in 2018, also did it working with Mahomes.

2005Kyle Johnson, Den.9117160529.4%
2018Kareem Hunt, K.C.824726378726.9%
2019Mark Ingram, Balt.10181026247519.2%
2008Darren Sproles, S.D.330129342517.2%
2022Jerick McKinnon, K.C.291156512916.1%
2014Ahmad Bradshaw, Ind.425238300615.8%
2018Tevin Coleman, Atl.800432276515.6%
2020Kareem Hunt, Cle.841638304513.2%
2014Arian Foster, Hou.1246838327513.2%
2019Jamaal Williams, G.B.460139253512.8%
2014Jamaal Charles, K.C.1033940291512.5%
2021Aaron Jones, G.B.799452391611.5%
2021Austin Ekeler, LAC9111270647811.4%
2001Marshall Faulk, St.L.13821283765910.8%
2021Alvin Kamara, N.O.898447439510.6%
2013Jamaal Charles, K.C.12871270693710.0%
2003Ahman Green, G.B.18831550367510.0%
2000Marshall Faulk, St.L.1359188183089.9%
2021Cordarrelle Patterson, Atl.61865254859.6%
2018Kenyan Drake, Mia.53545347759.4%
2016Theo Riddick, Det.35715337159.4%
2017Todd Gurley, LAR1305136478869.4%
2012Darren Sproles, N.O.24417566779.3%
2008Brian Westbrook, Phil.93695440259.3%
2019Austin Ekeler, LAC55739299388.7%
2022Aaron Jones, G.B.112125939558.5%
2016James White, N.E.16606055158.3%
2004Brian Westbrook, Phil.81237370368.2%
2011Darren Sproles, N.O.60328671078.1%
2018James White, N.E.42558775178.0%
2000Edgerrin James, Ind.1709136359457.9%
2013Danny Woodhead, S.D.42927660567.9%
2015Danny Woodhead, S.D.33638075567.5%
2018Tarik Cohen, Chi.44437172557.0%
2019James White, N.E.26317264556.9%
2017Christian McCaffrey, Car.43528065156.3%
2017Alvin Kamara, N.O.72888182656.2%
2020Alvin Kamara, N.O.932168375656.0%
2022Christian McCaffrey, 2TM113988574155.9%
2018Christian McCaffrey, Car.1098710786765.6%
2007Brian Westbrook, Phil.133379077155.6%
2022Austin Ekeler, LAC9151310772254.7%

Andy Reid also deserves some credit in this area. Note that another Kansas City back, Jamaal Charles, shows up twice on this list -- pre-Mahomes, but during Reid's tenure as head coach. The guy likes to throw to running backs near the goal line.

In any case, it's clear that if McKinnon does return to Kansas City, which the team is clearly interested in, he needs to be a strong consideration for fantasy teams, even working in a committee (likely with Isiah Pacheco, and perhaps Clyde Edwards-Helaire too). Those other backs combined to rush for 8 touchdowns, but just 30 receptions, about half as many as McKinnon.

--Andy Richardson

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