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10 Insights: Meet the Chargers' Running Backs Room


Below are 10 quick-hitting insights on the Chargers' running backs room ahead of training camp:

1) Austin Ekeler will begin his fifth NFL season, all with the Chargers in Los Angeles. A hamstring injury suffered in Week 4 at Tampa Bay limited to Ekeler to 10 games last season. He totaled 933 yards on 170 touches (5.5 yards per touch), with three total touchdowns.

2) Since Ekeler entered the league in 2017 as an undrafted free agent, only three other running backs have more receptions than his 212: Alvin Kamara, NO (326); Christian McCaffrey, CAR (320); and James White, NE (264). Ekeler's 81.2 percent catch percentage is also the highest in the NFL among running backs during that time span with a minimum of 260 targets (via Stathead).

3) Joshua Kelley will enter his second NFL season. Last year as a rookie, the former UCLA standout appeared in 14 games. He rushed for 354 yards and two touchdowns, while adding 148 yards through the air (3.7 yards per touch). His best game as a pro came in his Week 1 debut at Cincinnati: 12 carries for 60 yards and the only Chargers touchdown of the day. L.A. won 16-13.

4) Justin Jackson appeared in nine games in 2020, totaling 443 yards (5.9 yards per touch). He's been efficient in the running game when healthy, averaging 4.9 yards per carry over his career. Jackson also has 43 career receptions on 54 targets for 330 yards. Northwestern's all-time leading rusher is entering his fourth season in Los Angeles.

5) The Chargers drafted Missouri running back Larry Rountree III in the sixth round (No. 198 overall). Rountree III finished school as the Tigers' all-time leader in rushing yards (3,720) and touchdowns (40) among running backs, trailing only quarterback Brad Smith.

6) Rountree III was fourth in the SEC in rushing yards last season with 972 (4.65 yards per carry). In a two-week span against Vanderbilt and Arkansas, Rountree III had 48 carries for 345 yards and six touchdowns.

7) Fullback Gabe Nabers appeared in all 16 games during his rookie season, including five starts. His second and third career NFL receptions went for touchdowns in back-to-back games at Denver (Week 8) and vs. Las Vegas (Week 9), respectively.

8) Nabers has familiarity with a pair of players drafted by the Chargers in April. Cornerback Asante Samuel Jr. was a teammate of Nabers at Florida State, as was tight end Tre' McKitty, who transferred to Georgia after playing three seasons with the Seminoles.

9) Darius Bradwell appeared in two games last season as an undrafted free agent, totaling 18 snaps on special teams. He finished eighth all-time in rushing at Tulane (2,062 yards) despite having fewer carries than any other Green Wave back in the top 12.

10) Running backs coach Derrick Foster is in his first season with the Chargers and in the NFL. He spent the last three seasons at the University of Iowa. Per Chargers Communications: "Last season, under Foster's mentorship, Tyler Goodson was named first-team All-Big Ten by both the media and the conference's coaches."

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