LA Chargers: Justin Herbert and former Chargers who followed up legends

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(Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images) – LA Chargers
(Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images) – LA Chargers /

1. Ryan Mathews

Ryan Mathews had the impossible task of following up not only the best running back in franchise history, but the biggest fan-favorite in franchise history as well (according to our Twitter fan-favorite bracket).

What Tomlinson did in the powder blue is remarkable. He is undoubtedly one of the five greatest running backs of all-time, still holding the gold standard for an immaculate fantasy football season in which he broke the single-season rushing touchdown record.

Tomlinson was the face of the franchise, the best running back of the 2000s and an MVP. Not many running backs have that under their belt.

And here came Mathews. In the same offseason that Tomlinson signed with the New York Jets the Chargers traded up in the first round to draft Mathews. If the pressure was not already high enough, trading up for Mathews raised the stakes.

Mathews was a solid running back for the Chargers for five seasons, but he was always going to be a disappointment after following up so many years of greatness. Mathews as a Pro Bowler one time in his five seasons with the Bolts and rushed for 1,000 yards twice.

His best season was undoubtedly his 2013 season, which is ironic as he was not a Pro Bowler that season. He rushed for 1,255 yards with six touchdowns.

To put it into perspective, Tomlinson had seven straight seasons to start his career with at least 1,200 rushing yards and six touchdowns, something Mathews could only do once.