Let’s analyze the running back units of each AFC West team and ask some burning questions.
This offseason, AFC West teams have seen dramatic changes to their running back units. From Melvin Gordon jumping ship to join the Denver Broncos, to the Kansas City Chiefs drafting Clyde Edwards-Helaire, there’s a lot to catch up on.
The news that Damien Williams will opt out of the upcoming season, as well as recent news that the Raiders have signed veteran RB Jeremy Hill, shows it’s been a pretty chaotic offseason for AFC West running backs. Throw in the fact that more and more players will likely be opting out of the NFL season makes things even wilder.
These depth charts are likely to change in the coming weeks, but for now, let’s stand pat and take a look at each AFC West running back unit.
Los Angeles Chargers
Can Austin Ekeler carry the L.A. offense?
All signs indicate that Tyrod Taylor is going to be the Chargers’ starting quarterback this season. Taylor, known for his short-throw accuracy and careful style of play, is going to rely on Austin Ekeler a ton.
Ekeler broke out last season, showing himself to be one of the best receiving backs in the NFL. Taylor’s propensity for short, quick completions means that Ekeler is going to have a bullseye on his back all year.
It seems within the realm of possibility that Ekeler, who caught 92 passes last season, will top 100 this season. Add this to the fact that Melvin Gordon is no longer with the team, and there’s reason to believe that Ekeler’s volume in terms of touches might be obscene.
With this in mind, some questions emerge. Now that Ekeler has the league on alert, can he live up to last year’s production, especially in what should be a limited L.A. offense?