LA Chargers News

Ranking the top five playmakers this century for the Chargers

One of the most dynamic threats for the Chargers in the 2000s, Vincent Jackson made two Pro Bowls during his time in San Diego.
One of the most dynamic threats for the Chargers in the 2000s, Vincent Jackson made two Pro Bowls during his time in San Diego. / Donald Miralle/GettyImages
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Austin Ekeler
New England Patriots v Los Angeles Chargers / Joe Scarnici/GettyImages

4. Austin Ekeler, RB, 2017-Present

An honorable mention for this spot could have been Ekeler’s old backfield mate, Melvin Gordon, but Ekeler’s 2021 season is one of the greatest single-season performances in Bolts history which gives him the edge. I touched on Ekeler’s impressive run in this article, but it deserves a bigger spotlight here.

Prior to last season, the Western Colorado product had put together some solid campaigns in backup duty to Gordon, but when the Wisconsin Badger had a falling out with the Chargers in 2019 due to a contract dispute, Ekeler stepped up in a big way.

During that 2019 season, Ekeler nearly had 1,000 receiving yards (993 as a running back!) to go along with 557 rushing yards rushing. What’s even more impressive is that he only started eight games during that year, so it is feasible he could have achieved a rare 1,000/1,000 season.

Prior to the 2020 season, Ekeler signed a four-year $24.5 million contract extension with the Bolts to make him the full-time successor to Gordon. After an injured but still productive 2020 where accrued 933 total yards in 10 games, Ekeler crushed the 2021 season.

Totaling 1,558 total yards along with an astounding 20 touchdowns (tied for the second-most all-time in team history for total TDs), the running back did it all for the Bolts. With his contract extension still very much in effect and a lack of a consistent number two back behind him, Ekeler should be in line for bigger things in 2022 and beyond. 

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