LA Chargers News

Top five Chargers playmakers heading into the 2022 season

In 2018, during his stellar rookie season, safety Derwin James bellows at the night sky in a game against Kansas City.
In 2018, during his stellar rookie season, safety Derwin James bellows at the night sky in a game against Kansas City. / David Eulitt/GettyImages
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New England Patriots v Los Angeles Chargers / Kevork Djansezian/GettyImages

4. Austin Ekeler

With the running back position less of a coveted value than it was back in the mid-2000s during the heyday of LaDainian Tomlinson, Ekeler has fought to change that narrative. Coming off a 20-touchdown campaign where he also accrued over 1,500 total yards, the versatile back did it all in 2021 and will be looking for more of the same this year.

In terms of positional impact and value, Ekeler led all running backs last season in receiving yards at 647 and also was fourth in the league in yards average catch (YAC). Also, given his spectacular workout and healthcare routine, the Western Colorado product has found a way to stay healthy even given the ferocious nature of the position. 

One spot where Ekeler can improve next season is ball security. Though he had another fruitful campaign, perhaps his best year as a pro to date, he also lost three fumbles which were one of the highest marks in the NFL. If he can find a better handle on the ball next season, his value will only improve for the Bolts who have relied on his tenacious nature for a couple of seasons.

One other area of concern for next season is also the lack of a true No. 2 running back behind Ekeler. Though UCLA product Joshua Kelley has shown flashes at times, no other player has shown they can carry the load like Ekeler. That should hopefully change during the NFL Draft so the Western Colorado product can get a much-needed breather during games. 

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