The LA Chargers running back room was viewed as one of the thinnest positions on the roster heading into Chargers training camp. Austin Ekeler is a bonafide RB1 but behind him there were concerns on how the rest of the depth would play out.
Isaiah Spiller was a promising draft prospect that the team took in the fourth round with the intention of making him the RB2. However, we never know what to expect from rookies and the depth behind him was not promising.
Because he is younger and was actually drafted by Brandon Staley, it seemed like Larry Rountree was in command of the RB3 job on the depth chart. However, Rountree has not really done much during camp while Joshua Kelley has been making waves.
Kelley, who a lot of people have written off, has gotten immense praise from teammates and has looked much better in reps during camp. Adding onto that hype train after Sunday's scrimmage was head coach Brandon Staley, who had extremely positive things to say about the third-year back.
Joshua Kelley making strides could be huge for the LA Chargers.
The RB3 may not seem like that important of a role for the Chargers but it does make a difference in the grand scheme of the offense. As good as Austin Ekeler is, the Chargers want to somewhat limit his workload throughout the year that way he can be fresh when games matter the most.
And as promising as Spiller has looked in camp, you never know what to expect once true NFL game speed hits him. Based on his skill set he should be fine, but simply banking on the rookie running back to be hugely impactful in year one is dangerous.
And as we all know as football fans, injuries are going to happen. Every single team in the NFL has to deal with some kind of injuries and there is a chance that the running back depth chart gets hurt during the year. Being able to have someone take on a bigger role and not miss much of a beat is a huge luxury and that is what the Chargers are aiming to have.
If Kelley can prove that he can not only contribute in the run and pass game but can block better, as Staley alluded to, that is massive for his chances of making the roster and having a role on this offense. Pass-blocking is so important for a running back to have in this style of offense and it is nice to see Kelley making strides in that area.
There are still three preseason games for the Chargers to further evaluate the roster and Kelley is certainly going to get looks in those games. If he makes the most of them, he not only will get the RB3 job but might have a bigger role in the offense than initially expected.