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Chargers 2019 player rankings No. 14: Air guitar

JACKSONVILLE, FL - NOVEMBER 12: Austin Ekeler #30 of the Los Angeles Chargers beats Jalen Ramsey #20 of the Jacksonville Jaguars for a 22-yard touchdown in the second half of their game at EverBank Field on November 12, 2017 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
JACKSONVILLE, FL - NOVEMBER 12: Austin Ekeler #30 of the Los Angeles Chargers beats Jalen Ramsey #20 of the Jacksonville Jaguars for a 22-yard touchdown in the second half of their game at EverBank Field on November 12, 2017 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
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CARSON, CA – DECEMBER 09: Free safety Jessie Bates #30 of the Cincinnati Bengals stops running back Austin Ekeler #30 of the Los Angeles Chargers in the third quarter at StubHub Center on December 9, 2018 in Carson, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
CARSON, CA – DECEMBER 09: Free safety Jessie Bates #30 of the Cincinnati Bengals stops running back Austin Ekeler #30 of the Los Angeles Chargers in the third quarter at StubHub Center on December 9, 2018 in Carson, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

The Chargers have employed many great second-string running backs recently, but possibly none have been better than the 14th-ranked player on this list.

The Chargers have one of the most complete rosters in the NFL, featuring multiple former or current Pro-Bowl and All-Pro players who represent some of the best of their respective positions. Though almost the entire roster is talented, who is the best heading into 2019?

Here is the list so far:

20. DE Isaac Rochell

19. CB Michael Davis

18. LB Kyzir White and Jatavis Brown

17. LB Uchenna Nwosu

16. K Michael Badgley

15. LB Denzel Perryman

Coming in at 14 is a player who is pound-for-pound the strongest man on the team, and quite possibly play-for-play the most efficient offensive player on the roster: Running back Austin Ekeler.

2018 Stats:

  • 106 rushing attempts
  • 554 rushing yards
  • Three rushing touchdowns
  • 39 receptions
  • 404 receiving yards
  • Three receiving touchdowns

2018 PFF Grade: 83.6 (sixth-ranked)

Why he makes the list:

The more one dives into the (short) career of Ekeler, the more one can begin to appreciate how good he’s been. In fact, No. 30 has been statistically close to or better than recent Chargers like Darren Sproles, Branden Oliver, and Danny Woodhead when comparing his first two season to any of theirs. Though his rushing attempts more than doubled from his rookie season to this past season, he still maintained a rushing yards per attempt average of 5.2.

Though efficiency is possibly his best trait as a running back, he’s also an explosive game-changing player:

.@AustinEkeler is back at it again…

Touchdown, @Chargers! #Chargers pic.twitter.com/njrpTv0b4X

— NFL (@NFL) November 12, 2017

Ekeler had one of the more impressive rookie preseason performances in 2017, instantly becoming a fan-favorite to make the roster because of his elusive-yet-powerful running style. He was too good to let walk, even with previously-established running back Branden Oliver backing up starter Melvin Gordon on the roster.

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

— NFL (@NFL) September 1, 2017

The Chargers may not feature him significantly more this season, but a few extra attempts per game could finally net him his first season with over 1,000 total yards

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