LA Chargers News

LA Chargers: Grading Austin Ekeler and the 2020 RB group

ORCHARD PARK, NY - NOVEMBER 29: Austin Ekeler #30 of the Los Angeles Chargers runs the ball during a game against the Buffalo Bills at Bills Stadium on November 29, 2020 in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images)
ORCHARD PARK, NY - NOVEMBER 29: Austin Ekeler #30 of the Los Angeles Chargers runs the ball during a game against the Buffalo Bills at Bills Stadium on November 29, 2020 in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images)
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(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Justin Jackson

When healthy, Justin Jackson is a rather solid second running back. The issue is that he just hasn’t been able to get past the nagging injuries in the last two seasons. Through 2019 and 2020, Jackson played 16 out of a possible 32 games.

270 yards rushing and 173 yards receiving are both new career highs for Jackson. Like Ekeler, he averaged 4.6 yards per rushing attempt. As a receiver, Jackson actually set a new personal high in yards per reception with 9.1. The talent has always been on display from the former Northwestern product. He’s never lacked in efficiency.

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The real question mark with Jackson going forward is dependability. A calf injury cost him in 2019 and a lingering knee injury throughout the 2020 season landed him on IR. At some point, the best ability is simply availability.

Jackson does have the skills. He’s a patient runner who knows how to find the hole better than a number of running backs around the league. His contributions in the receiving game are also good. Heading into a crucial contract year, Jackson will need to prove that his ability to stay on the field is at the same level as his other skills.

Final 2020 grade: C+

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