Name: Jamaal Charles
Position: Running Back
Height: 5'11" Weight: 199
Age: 30 Experience: 10th
Heading into the draft, it appeared that the Broncos were looking to add some explosiveness or "juice" to the running back position. They were widely connected to running back prospects Christian McCaffrey and Joe Mixon but did not come away with either player.
They did draft De'Angelo Henderson late in the draft, but the Broncos still wanted to add more to their running back depth so they rolled the dice and signed former Kansas City Chiefs running back, Jamaal Charles to a one-year low-risk, high reward deal.
Charles his entering his 10th year in the NFL and will turn 31 years old in late December. Charles has been one of the best backs in the league during that 10-year span but has dealt with injuries the past two years. He was limited to just 8 games and 5 starts the last two seasons but did total 404 yards rushing on 83 attempts during that span which averages out to be about 4.9 YPC. He also totaled 5 rushing touchdowns and 1 receiving touchdown during that span as well.
During his career, Charles has totaled 7,260 total yards rushing, a career 5.5 YPC, and 43 touchdowns. He also has 285 career receptions for 2,457 yards and 20 receiving touchdowns. So that's 9,717 career yards and 63 touchdowns for Charles. So that's a career 6 yards per touch for Charles. That is pretty damn good.
Charles won't be seeing much time on the field or in any team drills during the spring, but according to Denver Broncos Head Coach Vance Joseph, the plan is to get Charles ready for the start of Training Camp.
"We’re hoping to get Jamaal full speed by training camp. He’s going to rehab and have some time to get healthy during the entire OTAs and the entire summer. Our goal for Jamaal is to have him on the field during training camp."
The Broncos hope that Charles can give them the same type of production that he gave to their division rival Kansas City Chiefs for nearly a decade.
When healthy, Jamaal Charles has proven that he can be one of the best backs in the National Football League. He's an instant homerun threat with every carry, gets good yards whenever he touches the ball(look at that career yards per carry), and he is also a weapon in the passing game. If the Broncos can squeeze out another great year from him, this signing could be the biggest steal this offseason.
Charles gives the Broncos that speed element at running back that they have been lacking for quite awhile. Pair him with C.J. Anderson's powerful play and the Broncos could have one of the better running back tandems in the NFL. A lot has to go right for that to happen but is certainly a possibility with these two backs.
Injuries, injuries, and injuries.
Jamaal Charles is coming off an ACL injury(his second of his career) that he suffered in 2015 after just five games. He missed the rest of the 2015 season and continued to have issues with it during the 2016 season. So he underwent another surgery to hopefully get him healthy for the 2017 season. Knee issues like this are never good, especially for a veteran running back, but hopefully, he can return to form, or close to it.
Charles will be held out of team drills and such this spring and likely will be slowly pushed into action during Training Camp and the Preseason. The Broncos need to take it slowly with Charles and hope his knee can make it through this summer before knowing if he can contribute to this team or not.
Finally, he is a 30-year old running back who will turn 31 in late December. Not many backs have successful seasons at this stage of their career, so the pair that with his injury concerns and you have a big roll of the dice here with Charles.
Jamaal Charles after signing with the Broncos.
"I always wanted to play for Denver. Growing up, John Elway was one of my favorite players."
It's simple. If Charles stays healthy this summer and looks like himself during camp, he makes the team. If he struggles with injuries and/or looks like a shell of his former self, he doesn't make the team.
Let's hope Charles stays healthy and makes the Chiefs organization and fans regret letting him go.