Chiefs Rookie Expected to Push for Roster Spot: ‘Most Interesting’ RB to Watch

The Kansas City Chiefs have done a tremendous job of finding young RB talent either in the draft or after it in recent years.

Isiah Pacheco is obviously the poster child for this trend — a seventh-round selection turned starter in 2022 — but the Chiefs running back room is also filled with UDFAs and unique athletes like rugby star Louis Rees-Zammit. That sets up a competitive roster battle at the position this summer.

“My roster construction that I’ve got, it’s based on what we’ve seen so far, not what I think is going to happen on August 31,” Chiefs Digest media member Matt Derrick said on the June 23 episode of the “41 is the Mic” podcast with KSHB41 reporter Nick Jacobs.

Revealing that he has Pacheco, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Rees-Zammit and 2023 UDFA Deneric Prince making the roster at running back as of now.

Chiefs RB Emani Bailey.

“Deneric Prince would be the number three running back right now,” Derrick explained. Adding later that he doesn’t see Rees-Zammit as a guy that would play prototypical running back if Pacheco and CEH got hurt.

That creates the need for Prince or someone else on the roster. And Derrick highlighted a rookie that could push Prince for that RB3 job.

“Emani Bailey, however, is the most interesting guy in that room to watch,” he stated, regarding the RB position. “He is somebody that I think absolutely, during training camp, can make a push.”

“If anybody is going to overtake Prince for that spot, I think it’s Bailey,” Derrick concluded.

Chiefs Training Camp Setting up 2-RB Battle Between Emani Bailey & Deneric Prince?

Bailey is a 5-foot-7 ball carrier out of TCU. He was “one of only nine Power Five players to average 100+ rushing yards-per-game, and one of just three to record 70+ forced missed tackles” in 2023 according to Chiefs team reporter Matt McMullen.

“He was also a viable weapon through the air, tallying 25 receptions (without a drop) for 184 yards and a score,” McMullen went on, detailing the RB competition. “In total, the 22-year-old Bailey averaged 20.7 offensive touches-per-game last season.”

So, is it Bailey versus Prince as Derrick alluded?

Not quite. The Chiefs have also spoken highly of former Arizona Cardinals sixth-round talent Keaontay Ingram in the past.

And they have another promising UDFA in Carson Steele who should be in the mix as well. Jacobs noted that Steele might be utilized in more of a fullback role during the “41 is the Mic” episode, which could be an intriguing development.

Of course, Rees-Zammit will be vying for a Swiss army knife role too.

Louis Rees-Zammit Appears to Be ‘Carving out’ Roster Spot With Chiefs
Speaking of LRZ, the unique newcomer from Wales, Derrick sees him as very likely to make the 53-man roster as of late June.

“I increasingly have Louis Rees-Zammit making this team,” the beat writer said. “Just because the way that the Chiefs keep using him in so many different ways and certainly the way that [special teams coordinator] Dave Toub talks about him and is using him on special teams.”

He added that “it certainly seems like they’re going to carve out a roster spot for him.”

One could make the argument that if Rees-Zammit is indeed on the team come Week 1, Steele won’t be — although he could make the practice squad.

Rees-Zammit won’t necessarily play fullback, but he’ll be a hybrid piece out of the backfield, nonetheless, and Kansas City will only have room for one of those if they keep an RB3 that can play all four downs.

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