LA Chargers rookie expectations, Joshua Kelley:
- 96 attempts, 400 rushing yards, two touchdowns
In order to make this as realistic as possible, we crunched the numbers for the LA Chargers last season as well as Tyrod Taylor’s last season in Buffalo. Last year, the Chargers attempted 22.9 carries per game while the 2017 Bills attempted 30.5 rushes per game.
Of the 22.9 rushes per game, the running back trio of Austin Ekeler, Melvin Gordon and Justin Jackson averaged 20.19 carries per game, a total of 323 carries. With Tyrod Taylor under center, the team is going to run the ball more overall, we estimate somewhere around 28 times a game, 22 of which being from the running backs.
That gives us 352 total rushing attempts for the three running backs. We estimate Ekeler to get 11 carries per game (176 total), Kelly to average six carries per game (96 total) and Jackson to average five carries per game (80 total).
The reason for Kelley getting more attempts than Jackson is that Jackson has not been able to stay healthy for the Bolts. Plus, the Chargers did draft Kelley higher than expected and he was an absolute workhorse at UCLA, so the Chargers probably have a bigger plan for him in mind in the running game.
Kelley will be a short-yardage option and will average just over four yards per carry in his rookie season to put him right around 400 yards. Despite being a short-yardage back, though, his touchdown figures will be low as Austin Ekeler will likely be trusted more near the goal line.
I do not think Kelley’s figures in the passing game are going to be significant enough to predict. He will get a handful of targets, but the passing game will mostly feature Ekeler and Jackson, not Kelley.