LA Chargers rookie running back Joshua Kelley made team history in his NFL debut.
The LA Chargers selected Joshua Kelley in the fourth round of the 2020 NFL Draft and at the time, Charger fans were perplexed. The team seemingly had more pressing needs than a running back and picking Kelley after not having any picks in the third and fourth round seemed a bit strange.
The Chargers seemed to really like Kelley and were willing to take him over more pressing needs and we got to see why in Week 1 against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Kelley scored the first and only touchdown of the game for the Chargers and made a big impact offensively with a few huge runs. He is already making his mark to outright win the RB2 job over Justin Jackson.
Kelley made history on the Bolts as well. Kelley’s Week 1 showing was one of the five-best Charger rookie debuts for a running back since the NFL-AFL merger in 1970. Only three running backs in franchise history since the merger had more yards from scrimmage in their Charger rookie debut.
Here is how the top-five shakes out.
5. Mike Tolbert, 2008
Joshua Kelley is one spot ahead of Mike Tolbert in terms of yards from scrimmage for a Chargers running back in their first career game. Tolbert made his debut for the Chargers in 2008 and instantly let his presence be known.
Tolbert finished with 41 yards from scrimmage despite only getting six touches. The fullback really let his presence be known in the passing game, as he caught three passes for 35 yards from the fullback position.
Tolbert went on to be a really talented dual-threat fullback in his NFL career, even making three Pro Bowls and two All-Pro First Teams as a member of the Carolina Panthers.