The Los Angeles Chargers have an interesting competition on their hands at the running back position.
Five players will battle it out to see who is going to follow Melvin Gordon in the pecking order, and it’s possible to see any combination of those five players make the 53-man roster.
Last season, Kenneth Farrow put together a strong training camp and he looked good in preseason games. When Branden Oliver tore his ACL early in the preseason, his odds of making the team increased and when all was said and done, he did make the 53-man roster as an undrafted free agent.
When Danny Woodhead was injured in the second game of the season, he was suddenly vaulted into the No.2 spot on the depth chart. The team brought in veterans such as Dexter McCluster and Ronnie Hillman, but both were largely ineffective. Finally, when Gordon was lost for the season with an injury toward the latter part of the year, Farrow was actually forced to start a couple of games.
It seemed like a case of too much, too soon as Farrow struggled when having to go against starting defensive players. The Chargers never planned to give the untested rookie so many reps, but a barrage of injuries forced their hand.
Farrow finished the year with 192 yards rushing on 60 attempts, an average of just 3.2 yards per carry. He also had 13 receptions for 70 yards.
Farrow can be a powerful runner. He also has the ability to catch the ball out of the backfield. But this summer, the competition to make the team will be a little more fierce.
Oliver is back and with Woodhead gone, figures to open camp as the No. 2 back on the depth chart. Andre Williams should still have something left in the tank and Kenjon Barner could be a real wild card. In addition, undrafted rookie Austin Ekeler has a ton of promise.
It’s easy to see Farrow find a way to make the roster the same way he did last year. By that same token, it’s also not hard to see him finishing No. 6 on that running back list at the end of the preseason.
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I see the Chargers keeping four running backs, but because of the injuries the team experienced last season, I could see them trying to find a way to keep all of these guys by using spots on the practice squad.
Even though Farrow was on the active roster all of last season, he still has practice squad eligibility and I think that is where he will start the season.
The team will back Gordon with Oliver and Williams and the final spot will come down to Barner and Ekeler. I can see them keeping Barner and moving both Ekeler and Farrow to the practice squad, which would allow them to keep all of these backs.
Personally, I feel Ekeler and mayebe even Farrow are better options than Barner, but this is a conceivable scenario.