The 2022 season was arguably running back Austin Ekeler's best one yet.
Coming off a year in which he was tied for the lead in total touchdowns, Ekeler doubled down and captured the touchdown title all for himself in 2022. A touchdown machine with 38 total scores in two seasons, Ekeler's presence on the offense became much bigger for the Chargers this past season as the unit suffered through a myriad of injuries.
Ekeler's high-level play led former All-Pro running back Maurice Jones-Drew, now an analyst for NFL Network, to rank Ekeler second in his latest RB Index where he ranked all 75 running backs who started a game.
A do-it-all playmaker for the Chargers, Ekeler's 2022 campaign was one for the ages. His 107 receptions set a franchise single-season record, and he became the fifth player in the Super Bowl era to have at least 800 rushing yards, 10 rushing TDs, 700 receiving yards and five receiving TDs in a single season, according to NFL Research.
Take a look back at the best photos of Austin Ekeler's 2022 campaign
His big statistical season was needed, as he was a security option for quarterback Justin Herbert at many points throughout the year. Ekeler's 1,637 scrimmage yards were his highest for a single season. Including the playoffs, he has scored 40 touchdowns in his last 38 games.
His ability to be effective on the ground and through the air is what makes Jones-Drew rank him so highly — something that both Ekeler and the player at the top spot share.
The unique skill sets of [Christian] McCaffrey and Ekeler -- the fact that they are constantly producing in both the run and pass games for their respective offenses -- is why they sit at Nos. 1 and 2 on this list.
While Ekeler took the No. 2 spot in the rankings, another member of the Bolts also made the rankings.
Running back Joshua Kelley, who started in Week 15 against the Titans, was No. 58 on Jones-Drew's list, as his style of running was a great changeup to what Ekeler provides and showed promise as the Chargers second running back.
Kelley is a great complement to elusive playmaker Austin Ekeler, seeing how the third-year pro excels as a physical downhill runner for the Chargers. Though he didn't post career bests in carries or rush yards, he was efficient in 2022 with a career-high yards-per-carry average (4.2).
Kelley ran for 287 yards and a pair of scores in 13 games in 2022.
To read Jones-Drew's full rankings, click here.
Bolt Up for 2023!
Secure your 2023 Season Ticket Memberships today! Click here to learn more.