Top Ten Chargers of 2019: Austin Ekeler and Joey Bosa
2. Austin Ekeler
If there’s one true Pro Bowl snub for the Chargers in 2020, it’s Ekeler. Ekeler was seven yards away from 1,000 yards receiving. For context, he was only 12 yards behind perhaps the best receiving and rushing running back dual threat in the league in Christian McCaffrey.
With Gordon holding out for the first month of the year, Ekeler took full reins of the running back position and made it his own.
Ekeler always seemed to have a big play when it was needed to keep the team in the game. From the Week 1 overtime score to beat Indianapolis to his speedy 84-yard touchdown against Jacksonville or his 41-yard score to keep the Chargers in the game vs. Tennessee, he came up with big plays and big games when it mattered most.
Ekeler had 224 absolutely electric touches this year, and once he’s the lead back, that’s going up next year. Imagine Ekeler’s 6.9 yards a touch with an even larger chunk of the offense.
2020 New Year’s Resolution: Officially supplanting Gordon as the lead back to lead the team in carries and offensive touches. Chargers fans have seen Ekeler as a backup, and now it’s time for Ekeler as the star.
1. Joey Bosa
The best Charger of 2019 was Bosa. It was a bit of a surprise how dominant he was given his 2018 being affected by a foot injury that kept him out over half of the year. Finally, Chargers fans were able to get Bosa in for 16 games again, and everyone was reminded of the difference he makes.
The numbers leap off the screen. 11.5 sacks, 26 pass hurries, 55 pressures, 67 tackles, 18 tackles for loss, and 31 quarterback hits is absolutely off the charts, especially when you factor how often offensive lines and opposing pass blocking schemes double-covered him.
Prior to this season, Bosa may have been thought of as a Pro Bowl edge rusher, but it feels like he even exceeded that this season. He had the most run stops out of any defensive end and the second most tackles.
PFF gave Bosa a 90.3 edge rusher grade and an 89.6 defensive grade overall. Active hands, incredible strength and speed, great moves cutting in and around opposing offensive lineman, he was the best Charger of 2019.
Joey Bosa with the stab/club.@jbbigbear stabs the inside pec of the blocker to make him shoot his hands & freeze his feet, followed by the club to clear the hands.
— DLineVids (@dlinevids1) October 28, 2019
2020 New Year’s Resolution: A big ol’ contract to keep him as the Chargers’ best pass rusher. Also, as previously said with Ingram, better defensive tackles and interior lineman to open him up even further.
2019 was a tough year in many respects for the Chargers, but looking at some of the seasons the best players had, it should make fans feel hope. The Chargers aren’t that far away with all the talent they have.
Defensive franchise stalwarts like Bosa, Ingram, and Hayward are still at the top of their game. Offensive weapons like Allen, Ekeler, Williams, Henry, and Watt are coming along nicely. Players that were new to the franchise this year like Long and Tranquill made their impacts felt, with only room to really go up from here.
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