The Chargers have a number of mouths to feed at the running back position, but they shouldn’t forget to keep last year’s preseason standout on their roster.
Melvin Gordon, Austin Ekeler, and Justin Jackson are the three men in the backfield rotation to lead the Chargers’ rushing attack this season. Each belongs on the roster, but what happens to Detrez Newsome? After a strong showing in the preseason and a brief display of potential later in the season, the team should try and find a way to retain him.
Detrez Newsome with the 5-yard TD to make it 7-0, Bolts. pic.twitter.com/pUbPzDyhsf
— Los Angeles Chargers (@Chargers) August 26, 2018
Following in the footsteps of Branden Oliver and Ekeler, Newsome became the next undrafted free agent to stand out in the preseason and draw the praise of coaches and fans. In his four games, no back was featured more, averaging 4.04 yards per touch on 52 attempts and scoring two touchdowns. As the coaching staff sorted through players to find a new kickoff returner, Newsome ripped off a bruising 63-yard return against the San Francisco 49ers. His value as both a rusher, receiver, and returner was on full display, and he made the team’s initial 53-man roster. Newsome was on and off the roster in 2019, appearing in nine games and not making an official start in any of them. His best game came with his most touches, averaging 5.7 yards per rush and 9.5 yards per catch in Kansas City.
It’s possible another undrafted free agent like Troymaine Pope outplays him in the preseason, but Newsome deserves another crack at the roster in 2019. The Chargers don’t always move on from players just because their initial season wasn’t full of stats and touchdowns. In 2015, one undrafted free agent caught his first pass in the last game of the season; that was Tyrell Williams, who went on to make 69 receptions for 1,059 yards and seven touchdowns the following year. Newsome will likely not have that much opportunity this season, but given any injury to players in front of him, he could fill in well for an offense looking to feature its dominant rushing attack.