Austin Ekeler has developed into one of the league's most versatile running backs in his first five seasons in the league, showcasing an ability to thrive on the ground and through the air.
The Chargers running back has yet to make a Pro Bowl, but one analyst believes that could change in 2022.
Nick Shook of NFL.com recently projected one player from each AFC team who could be a first-time Pro Bowler, and tabbed Ekeler as the pick for the Bolts.
Ekeler is an easy pick here, provided he can stay healthy over the course of the season. The Chargers are noticeably better with Ekeler on the field, and he'll return as an essential part of Los Angeles' offense in 2022. All that's left for Ekeler to do is further capitalize on his opportunities, and with plenty of big-time matchups awaiting the Chargers in the incredibly stiff competition of the AFC West, he'll get plenty of chances to prove his worth to more than just fantasy football owners.
Ekeler had the best season of his career in 2021, posting 20 total scores, including a dozen on the ground. Ekeler had nine combined rushing scores in his first four years before his dynamite performance a year ago.
He compiled a career-high 1,558 yards from scrimmage, a tally that included 911 rushing yards on just 206 attempts (4.4 yards per carry).
Ekeler was asked about his 2022 goals at minicamp last month, but said he was focused more on the process than the results.
"As an individual, it was pretty good season. 20 touchdowns and 1,500 all-purpose yards. You try to bring that back if you can," Ekeler said. "For me, they're never really attainable, my goals that I set for myself, it's always to build on what I've done before. That's all in my perception, if I'm building or I'm not. It's always like, 'Hey, let's be more efficient in my fundamentals,' things like that.
"There's nothing really result-based. It's something that you're always pushing towards, but you can never achieve. Yes, I would love to get another 20 touchdowns — maybe I get more, maybe I get less — but do I feel like I'm being efficient with the opportunities that I get?," Ekeler added. "I had a lot of opportunities to score touchdowns last year, but who knows about this year? We might have [WR] Mike [Williams] popping off in the red zone and he's scoring all of the touchdowns now. Who, in that situation, is getting more opportunities? Last year, it was me getting a lot of them down in the red zone. We'll see where the cards play."
Ekeler is one of six running backs on the current roster along with Isaiah Spiller, Larry Rountree III, Joshua Kelley, Leddie Brown and Kevin Marks, Jr.
Bolt Up for 2022!
Secure your 2022 Season Ticket Memberships today! Click here to learn more.