Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports – LA Chargers
The start of the 2020 season for the LA Chargers has been a major disappointment.
The LA Chargers have gotten off to a rough start. At the halfway point, they currently sit at the bottom of the AFC West with a 2-6 record. They continue to lose close games and somehow keep finding more ways to lose. Almost every aspect of the game has been a major letdown for Chargers fans.
On a positive note, the Chargers hit a home run with the selection of Justin Herbert. Many analysts were calling him a bust before he even got drafted. Herbert has proved all of his doubters wrong.
He’s played incredibly well and has likely done enough to save the job of Tom Telesco. However, the rest of the offensive players that were drafted by the Chargers have gotten off to a slow start.
Joshua Kelley was taken in the fourth round by the Chargers. Kelley is a local kid who grew up in Los Angeles and attended UCLA. The Chargers have always done a great job of developing running backs. Guys like Brandon Oliver, Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson came out of nowhere and became major contributors of the Chargers offense over the last two decades.
Kelley got off to a good start in Week 1 against the Bengals where he ran for 60 yards on 12 carries and a touchdown but has cooled off significantly.
Since Week 2, Kelley has ran the ball 79 times for 232 yards and no touchdowns. He also fumbled twice over in that span while averaging 2.9 yards per carry. Kelley has been outplayed by Troymaine Pope and Kalen Ballage in the last two weeks and has likely been bumped down the depth chart.
With the Ekeler injury in Week 4, we expected more of Kelley but as the season has gone on, he hasn’t been able to produce.
In the fourth round, there were other positions of need still on the board. At this point, this seems like a waste of a pick, especially with him being outplayed by a seventh-round pick in Jackson, an undrafted free agent in Pope and now Ballage.
The Chargers should have opted to go after cornerback or offensive line depth in the fourth round, both of which have been in shambles for the Chargers this year.
Coming into the season, the Chargers were still searching for a third wide receiver behind Keenan Allen and Mike Williams. They took Joe Reed and K.J. Hill on day three of the draft. Jalen Guyton has earned that spot and has been Herbert’s favorite deep threat.
With the emergence of Guyton, Reed and Hill have gotten very little playing time and have primarily been a part of special teams. Reed has yet to catch a pass but has taken five carries for 29 yards and a touchdown.
Meanwhile, Hill only has two catches for 23 yards. He did have a great sideline catch against the Saints but has as many drops as receptions.
Jalen Guyton really stepped up and earned his role, but the lack of Reed’s involvement in the offense has been a bit of a letdown so far. He is a versatile playmaker and while we don’t know how he is progressing, which could be why he hasn’t gotten much playing time, it seems like he should be getting more reps.
Hill was a seventh-round pick and was considered a huge steal for the Chargers. Halfway through the season, Hill has barely been involved. In the seven games he’s played in he dropped two passes and fumbled a punt. With Guyton’s emergence, Hill will likely not get much playing time barring an injury to those ahead of him on the depth chart.
The offensive players besides Herbert have been disappointing. If Kelley can get his confidence back and run how he did against the Bengals, he can be a huge asset for this offense as someone with his size and skillset could be a great complement to Jackson and Ekeler.
Reed is a gadget player and can do a bit of everything. He should be getting more involved in the offense, whether it’s getting more carries, catching the ball or just serving as a decoy. One of Hill’s biggest assets coming out of Ohio State was here has hands.
He has dropped as many balls as he caught and fumbled a punt against the Raiders that led to a touchdown. There is still hope that each of these guys can be contributors for the Chargers, but as of now, each of them has been disappointing.