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Alvin Kamara could destroy Saints franchise records

After only three seasons with the New Orleans Saints, Alvin Kamara has propelled up record books.

NFL: New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

When the Saints selected a running back in the 2017 draft, many were perplexed. After all, backs Mark Ingram and Adrian Peterson were already on the roster. What chance did this committee back from Tennesee and Alabama transfer have of getting some actual playing time? Turns out, a big chance. Kamara came to New Orleans and blew up the scene so much that the Saints traded future Hall of Famer Adrian Peterson for a conditional sixth-round pick. Kamara went on to win Offensive Rookie of the Year that season by putting up 1,554 total scrimmage yards and 13 combined rushing and receiving yards.

With a pair of impressive seasons under his belt entering into the 2019 season, Kamara saw a bit of a hiccup in his production dealing with some injuries, missing two games, and not feeling completely himself again until later in the season. Despite that, he still put up 1,330 total yards from scrimmage though only finding the endzone six times- four in the last two contests.

NFL: New Orleans Saints at Tampa Bay Buccaneers Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Even with that “down” year, Kamara is in line to make some pretty impressive leaps up the Saints franchise record lists in only his fourth season in the NFL.

The guy once seen as nothing more than a third running back now only needs two more rushing touchdowns to move into the top five in Saints history. He currently has 27 after only three years but can realistically leapfrog both Pierre Thomas (eight years) and Chuck Muncie (five) in the first game of Kamara’s fourth season.

Once he comes back healthy, it is reasonable to expect that he can get back to his 2018 level of production. In that season, his second in the NFL, he registered 14 touchdowns on the ground alone, adding eight through the air. If he sees that type of run game production again in 2020, he is only 12 rushing touchdowns away from tying Dalton Hilliard for third in franchise history.

Saints All-Time Rushing Touchdown Leaders

Name Seasons Active Rushing Attempts Rushing Yards Touchdowns
Name Seasons Active Rushing Attempts Rushing Yards Touchdowns
Mark Ingram 2011-2018 1,321 6,007 50
Deuce McAllister 2001-2008 1,429 6,096 49
Dalton Hilliard 1986-1993 1,126 4,164 39
Chuck Muncie 1976-1980 788 3,393 28
Pierre Thomas 2007-2014 818 3,745 28
Tony Galbreath 1976-1980 760 2,865 27
Alvin Kamara 2017-2019 485 2,406 27

Hilliard played for the Saints for eight seasons and Kamara could tie or even surpass him before a second contract. Perhaps more impressively, he has done it while still being well outside of the top-ten in all-time carries for the Saints also. He is producing at a clip better than any running back in Saints history, with a 5.5% TD percentage on his carries.

Even Vegas is confident that the 2017 Offensive Rookie of the Year can return to form, setting his over/under for total touchdowns to 10.5 ahead of the season.

More opportunity for Kamara presents itself when you expand beyond just rushing touchdowns. Add in his 10 receiving touchdowns and his kick return score in 2017 and he has found the endzone 38 total times so far in his career. If he manages those aforementioned 12 rushing touchdowns and just one receiving, he would tie Jimmy Graham for the fifth-most touchdowns scored in Saints history. Graham, was another player that produced at an impressive rate with his short time in New Orleans.

How far can this go for Alvin Kamara? The Saints have a history of not marrying themselves to running back for extend time. Deuce McAllister, Mark Ingram, Pierre Thomas, and Dalton Hilliard all played eight seasons for the Saints, longest tenures at the position. Fred McAfee was close with seven and only Ingram, Hilliard, and Thomas have notched more than 100 games at running back with the Saints.

NFL: Carolina Panthers at New Orleans Saints
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

If Kamara were to see just seven years like McAfee with the Saints and continuing to produce at this level, which would be difficult to maintain. Kamara would become the Saints’ all-time leading scorer.

Taking away his kick return touchdown (as his return duties have likely seen their span), Kamara has 37 total scores from scrimmage. That is a 12 touchdown per season average. Over seven years, that gives him 84 scores, 85 if you add back in the return touchdown from 2017. That would far surpass current leader in total touchdowns for the Saints is of course wide receiver Marques Colston with 72.

That means that if Kamara plays only three more years at the same clip or sees a dropoff of 12 touchdowns over that remaining time, he can still surpass Colston. Now, whether or not the Saints running back gets a second contract or extension still remains to be seen. But if he has a great 2020, he will certainly have a claim to that new deal. It would just be up to New Orleans (and the potential salary cap drop in 2021 following the pandemic) and their willingness to pay more money at that position.

Regardless of the hypothetical future, what Kamara has done so far and what he has the ability to do in the the 2020 season are remarkable. He has gone from highly debated third-round draft selection to Offensive Rookie of the Year, to archetype every team has tried to mimic, to climbing the record books in New Orleans. It has been and can continue to be incredibly fun to watch.

What do you think of Kamara’s production? Can he keep it up? Does he deserve another deal in NOLA? Let us know in the comments! Make sure you follow Canal Street Chronicles on Twitter at @SaintsCSC, “Like” us on Facebook at Canal Street Chronicles, and make sure you’re subscribed to our new YouTube channel. As always, you can follow me on Twitter @RossJacksonNOLA.