Austin Ekeler is entering his first year as the LA Chargers’ full-time RB1.
The LA Chargers experienced a running back shake-up over the offseason. Former first-round pick Melvin Gordon signed a two-year deal with the Denver Broncos after holding out and missing four games last season in pursuit of a bigger contract.
To replace Gordon’s place on the depth chart, the Chargers drafted a hometown running back in Joshua Kelley in the fourth round of the 2020 NFL Draft. Kelley attended UCLA and grew up in Inglewood, and based on what we have seen and heard in camp this season, the Chargers really love his potential.
Replacing Gordon as the RB1 is Austin Ekeler, who has been a solid back for the Chargers for several years now but really took his game to another level last season during and after Gordon’s holdout.
The Chargers rewarded his efforts with a four-year, $24.5 million contract extension. Ekeler has become one of the best stories in football, going from an undrafted free agent to a legitimate RB1 who got paid (more than Gordon overall) in just three seasons.
Although he already has his extension, this year is the most important of Ekeler’s career as it is his first as the dedicated RB1 and it will be his first chance to really prove what he has in the tank. What should he be striving to? Let’s break it down.