The Los Angeles Chargers have one more preseason game in which any players hanging around on the roster bubble get one more shot to make a final impression.
But let’s be honest, most of those positions have already been decided.
We know that Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler are going to be the running backs. Most expected seventh-round draft pick Justin Jackson to be the No. 3 guy and perhaps even push Ekeler for snaps.
That’s not going to happen.
Jackson has been injured all summer and now, he likely won’t even make the team. Instead, undrafted rookie Detrez Newsome has become this year’s version of Ekeler.
The similarities are plentiful.
Both running backs put up massive college numbers, but they did so while almost no one noticed. Ekeler came from Western State University in Colorado after other colleges didn’t see him as a running back. Newsome came from Western Carolina where he was the school’s all-time leader in all-purpose yards and touchdowns scored. Like Ekeler’s air guitar, Newsome also has a pretty sweet touchdown celebration with his cartwheel backflip.
Detrez Newsome with the 5-yard TD to make it 7-0, Bolts. pic.twitter.com/pUbPzDyhsf
— Los Angeles Chargers (@Chargers) August 26, 2018
Yet, like Ekeler, he got almost no consideration on draft day.
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So the Chargers did what they do. They went out and found an unknown, jack-of-all-trades style player who can run the ball on the inside and outside. He can also catch the ball and has a nose for the end zone from inside the 5-yard line.
Newsome has shown all of these things in preseason games while Jackson has shown absolutely nothing.
On the preseason, Newsome has 117 yards rushing on 35 carries with two touchdowns. He’s added nine catches for 70 yards. That’s not bad for limited work in only three games.
That makes this an easy decision. Newsome is going to make the team and Jackson is going to hope that there’s room on the practice squad.
It’s hard to believe that the NCAA’s No. 11 all-time leading rusher could be looking for work while a guy who no one had heard of until the Chargers picked him up is flourishing. But you have to be available to be able to contribute.