LA Chargers News

Austin Ekeler vs Darren Sproles and other Chargers backs

CARSON, CA - SEPTEMBER 09: Running back Austin Ekeler #30 of the Los Angeles Chargers celebrates a touchdown against the Kansas City Chiefs at StubHub Center on September 9, 2018 in Carson, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
CARSON, CA - SEPTEMBER 09: Running back Austin Ekeler #30 of the Los Angeles Chargers celebrates a touchdown against the Kansas City Chiefs at StubHub Center on September 9, 2018 in Carson, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
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CARSON, CA – NOVEMBER 25: Running back Austin Ekeler #30 of the Los Angeles Chargers runs after his catch in front of defensive back David Amerson #38 of the Arizona Cardinals during the third quarter at StubHub Center on November 25, 2018 in Carson, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
CARSON, CA – NOVEMBER 25: Running back Austin Ekeler #30 of the Los Angeles Chargers runs after his catch in front of defensive back David Amerson #38 of the Arizona Cardinals during the third quarter at StubHub Center on November 25, 2018 in Carson, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Austin Ekeler has been one of the more exciting pieces of the Chargers offense over the last two seasons, following a long tradition of great backs with this franchise…

Austin Ekeler, since entering the league as an undrafted free agent in 2017, has demonstrated with both his elusiveness and power that he belongs in the NFL. As a complement to lead back Melvin Gordon, the team-proclaimed strongest man on the roster has been a spark in an already potent offense. Ekeler’s role has mirrored that of other Chargers running backs in recent years; just how good has he been?

.@Chargers RB Austin Ekeler jukin' defenders and breakin' tackles!#LACvsSF pic.twitter.com/PcVa70BXB7

— NFL (@NFL) September 1, 2017

The three other backs who shared a similar role are Darren Sproles, Danny Woodhead, and Branden Oliver. Since Ekeler has only been in the league for two years, each back (with varying career lengths) will have two of their better seasons with the Chargers compared to his two.

Darren Sproles:

  • 2008: 61 rushes, 330 yards, 5.4 yards per carry, one rushing touchdown. 29 receptions, 342 yards, 11.8 yards per reception, five receiving touchdowns.
  • 2009: 93 rushes, 343 yards, 3.7 yards per carry, three rushing touchdowns. 45 receptions, 497 yards, 11.0 yards per reception, four receiving touchdowns.

Danny Woodhead:

  • 2013: 106 rushes, 429 yards, 4.0 yards per carry, two rushing touchdowns. 76 receptions, 605 yards, 8.0 yards per reception, six receiving touchdowns.
  • 2015: 98 rushes, 336 yards, 3.4 yards per carry, three rushing touchdowns. 80 receptions, 755 yards, 9.4 yards per reception, six receiving touchdowns.

Branden Oliver:

  • 2014: 160 rushes, 582 yards, 3.6 yards per carry, three rushing touchdowns. 36 receptions, 271 yards, 7.5 yards per reception, one receiving touchdown
  • 2015: 31 rushes, 108 yards, 3.5 yards per carry, zero rushing touchdowns. 13 receptions, 112 yards, 8.6 yards per reception, zero receiving touchdowns.

Austin Ekeler:

  • 2017: 47 rushes, 260 rushing yards, 5.5 yards per carry, two rushing touchdowns. 27 receptions, 279 yards, 10.3 yards per reception, three receiving touchdowns.
  • 2018: 106 rushes, 554 rushing yards, 5.2 yards per carry, three rushing touchdowns. 39 receptions, 404 receiving yards, 10.4 yards per reception, three receiving touchdowns.
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