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Joshua Kelley 'a Perfect Fit' for Versatile Chargers Running Backs Room


Chargers radio analyst – and NFL Network lead draft analyst – Daniel Jeremiah joined the latest episode of "Chargers Weekly" to break down the team's 2020 draft class.

Watch the interview below. Here are some highlights:

Quarterback Justin Herbert's performance throughout the draft evaluation process

"Well, I don't know if you could have done it any better and that's just the stuff we saw on the field in the workouts, and then the Senior Bowl. What actually helped him even more was meeting with teams and they came away just impressed. Obviously how smart he was – we knew he was going to be smart. But, the passion that he had for the game and I think he's got kind of a little bit of that reserved persona when you're from the outside. And I think as people got to know him, they realized he's got a little more juice to him than maybe you anticipated.

"So, I think that helped him and then when you watched him during the season, I thought you saw somebody that was just getting better and better as the year went along. So, everything kind of built up to that crescendo to get him to where he ended up in the draft."

How linebacker Kenneth Murray fits in to the Chargers' defense

"You want to have impact, difference-making players at all three levels and the cool thing about it is when you look at some of the things they can do on third down, you're gonna have an opportunity where at times you're gonna see (Joey) Bosa kick inside. And if you look down the middle of that defense for the Chargers, you could be going Bosa, Murray, Derwin James at different times; how you can align them in so many different ways. They're all versatile players.

"But just think of that athleticism: to not only pressure the quarterback up the middle, but anything that goes to the sideline at different levels of the defense. Having Kenneth Murray, who runs low 4.5, high 4.4 sprinting sideline-to-sideline. Derwin James, with his 4.4 speed sprinting sideline-to-sideline. You could really, really branch out from the middle of the field and cover a lot of grass with that group."

What the Chargers are getting in running back Joshua Kelley

"Some of the things we talked about personality-wise with Kenneth Murray, you see the same things when you look at Joshua Kelley. Joshua Kelley's always got a smile on his face. Talking to (UCLA head coach) Chip Kelly about him, he said, 'Look, we're giving him so many carries. We had to give him a break. So, that's why we didn't involve him and use him as much in the passing game.' But he said, 'We did it every day in practice. He's actually really good at it.' I said, ' Coach, I was at the Senior Bowl. He was fantastic in the pass game. Like, I know he can do these things.'

"So, he's gonna get a chance to show off that side of his game, but then he just runs so hard and he's just so tough. So, I think he's gonna be a perfect fit. When you look at the collection of backs now that you have not only with Austin (Ekeler), but with Justin (Jackson) and now you throw Josh in there, that's three guys you can all get out in the route, can all catch the ball. They're all tough. So, there's gonna be a nice mix there with the committee I think this coming season."

On fifth-round wide receiver Joe Reed

"We talked about it on the "Move the Sticks" podcast with our buddy Bucky Brooks. We talk about that wing back, right? That's kind of like that (49ers wide receiver) Deebo Samuel role. Somebody that (you can) line up, get him fly sweeps; somebody that you can put in the backfield and just get the ball in his hands for what he does after the catch. Obviously his return ability speaks for itself. So, he's just a guy you want to get the ball in his hands and let him go."

On what safety Alohi Gilman's role could be in his rookie season

"I think you kind of target that Adrian Phillips role. That's what he's got to try and go after when he gets a chance to get into camp and compete. That's the spot you're hoping to be where you can have an impact on third and fourth down. And this is somebody I like better closer to the line of scrimmage. He plays bigger than his size. He's a really good tackler in that regard and he flies around. So, to me that's kind of his perfect role. He's gonna find his niche kind of playing those sub-packages, and then out there covering kicks. And again, another guy -- energy. I'm big on that and I think they did a nice job throughout this draft class getting guys that really bring a lot of energy."

On seventh-round wide receiver KJ Hill

"I would say probably top three or four in the entire draft class when you're just talking about hands. He's got unbelievable hands. He catches everything. You could make a highlight reel of just his one-handed catches at Ohio State. Tremendous value being able to get him where you did. ... Hopefully Keenan Allen can kind of take him under his wing."

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