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LA Chargers Week 9 overreactions: Was trading Desmond King a mistake?

Tennessee Titans free safety Desmond King (33) recovers a Chicago Bears fumble and runs in a touchdown during the third quarter at Nissan Stadium Sunday, Nov. 8, 2020 in Nashville, Tenn.
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Tennessee Titans free safety Desmond King (33) recovers a Chicago Bears fumble and runs in a touchdown during the third quarter at Nissan Stadium Sunday, Nov. 8, 2020 in Nashville, Tenn. Aab3948
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(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) – LA Chargers
(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) – LA Chargers

The LA Chargers lost to the Las Vegas Raiders in a brand new fashion this week, falling to a 2-6 record. Here are the overreactions from Week 9.

The LA Chargers‘ season is falling away from them, leaving us to question decision after decision. Here are the overreactions from Week 9.

Overreaction #1: The LA Chargers made a mistake by drafting Joshua Kelley in the fourth Round of the 2020 NFL Draft

With their fourth-round selection in the 2020 NFL Draft, the Los Angeles Chargers selected running back Joshua Kelley out of UCLA.

Many were excited by the obvious talent and high ceiling of Kelley. In the first game, Kelley demonstrated that talent, and it was apparent that the Chargers likely would not have won the game without Kelley.

Since then, Kelley’s play has taken a bit of a backslide. He was decent in Week 2 before fumbling back-to-back weeks. Since those fumbles, Kelley has run a bit conservatively, and he has been overshadowed in subsequent weeks by backs such as Troymaine Pope and Kalen Ballage.

While it is still early in his career, his play begs the question – was it a mistake for the Los Angeles Chargers to select Joshua Kelley in the fourth round?

While I  expect Kelley to grow and eventually turn his obvious talent into consistent production, the early answer to this question is yes.

I do believe that Joshua Kelley has the talent to become a good running back in the NFL, and he has certainly demonstrated that potential. The problem with this pick is twofold.

First, running backs are simply too easy to find in free agency to need to spend a fourth-round pick on one unless you believe he can be elite.

In back to back weeks, the Chargers have gotten good production out of free-agent running backs. Troymaine Pope and Kalen Ballage have demonstrated that an average, rotational back is relatively easy to find.

Furthermore, the Chargers were not a team that had enough depth to spend a luxury pick on a running back, especially after spending a pick to get Kenneth Murray in the first round.

After injuries in the secondary, the unit that looked elite has turned mediocre quickly. The same can be said of the offensive line and pass-rushing units.

After the 2020 NFL Draft, we gave the section of Joshua Kelley a C-. While Kelley was a decent value at that spot, there were simply too many players available at more important positions to make a luxury selection on a running back.

The only thing that would change that evaluation would be Kelley being an Austin Ekeler-level talent. While he looked like that initially, the C- grade is looking more and more valid by the day.

Verdict #1: Not an overreaction

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