5. Tyjae Spears, Tulane
With a strong season and show-out performance in the Cotton Bowl (17 carries, 205 yards, 4 touchdowns) one of the biggest jumps in the draft projections over the past year is Tulane running back Tyjae Spears. In his final season at Tulane, Spears led the Green Wave backfield rushing for 1,581 yards and 19 touchdowns on the season, averaging 7 yards per carry in his final season and across his collegiate career at Tulane.
Spears did not run at the NFL Combine, but many project him to run in the 4.40's. Spears is a consistent running back who shows strong vision and change of pace to pair with speed and efficiency. Concerns come with his frame as he is on the lighter side but Spears has put on some weight and muscle this offseason pre-draft to adjust.
With smooth route-running out of the backfield, an improvement to his catching ability will improve his overall standing where his elusiveness in the open field can shine. His receiving at the combine was impressive and solidified what many already knew, his versatility is one of his biggest strengths.
Coming off an ACL injury in 2020, his durability is the biggest question mark going into the draft. Spears has spearheaded Tulane's offense the past seasons since the injury showing little sign of concern but it is something that will be monitored. Injury concerns aside, Tyjae Spears' versatility and consistency with his upside shown over the past season is a strong option for the Chargers to take in the second or third round as his draft stock seems to fluctuate between the two.