KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Our look at Kansas City Chiefs rookies from 2013 moves on to a player who improved tremendously from the start of the season to the finish.
RB Knile Davis
How acquired: 2013 third-round draft pick.
2013 season: Davis began the season as a fumble-prone player who couldn't be trusted to run the play that was called or catch the ball when it was kicked to him. His season ended with a broken leg in the playoff loss to the Indianapolis Colts, but in between Davis transformed into a player who was hardly recognizable. The Chiefs understandably didn't trust him much early in the season but became more comfortable with him as the year went on, and he was at times effective in relief of Jamaal Charles. Though he fumbled occasionally during the season, Davis was much better securing the ball later in the season, often carrying it with two arms in what appeared to be an exaggerated pose. Once he learned how to catch a kickoff, Davis was a threat, returning one kick 108 yards for a touchdown in a midseason game against the Denver Broncos and averaging 32.1 yards per return. As a back, Davis went from a straight line runner to one who could see holes developing and make the necessary cuts. But he averaged only 3.5 yards per carry, a low number for a back with his speed and power. Davis didn't get much work in passing situations, as he wasn't a good pass protector. He did catch 11 passes but the longest was for 17 yards.
Looking ahead: The broken leg clouds Davis' near-term future. If he can't participate in any of the offseason work, that will set him back greatly because his is a game that needs development in many areas. But Davis has ability. Because he's 227 pounds and fast, he has big-play ability. The Chiefs can feel comfortable using Davis more as a change of pace from Charles or even with Charles together in the backfield. His fumbling problem will probably always be a concern and he needs to make big strides as a pass protector and receiver. If he can become more than just adequate in those areas, Davis over the long term can not only be an effective fill-in for Charles but even his replacement as the featured back whenever Charles' Chiefs career is finished.