3. Los Angeles Chargers
Austin Ekeler, Joshua Kelley, Isaiah Spiller
Once again, I really struggled with this because I wanted to weight it more heavily on the starting running back, and Austin Ekeler is exceptional. Over the last two seasons, he's racked up 38 total touchdowns from scrimmage and is one of the league's truly elite weapons at the position in the passing game.
And he's criminally underpaid.
Joshua Kelley contributed 287 rushing yards last season, a pair of touchdowns, and a total of 388 yards from scrimmage, which is solid. I really liked Isaiah Spiller coming out of Texas A&M in last year's NFL Draft, but he was only a fourth-round pick and will need a true breakout to prove that he's got the chops to stick in the NFL.
As a rookie in 2022, Spiller only touched the ball 21 times in total.
Obviously, if you were to rank the top running backs in the AFC West, I think the Raiders and Chargers would be in the top two spots. Austin Ekeler and Josh Jacobs are among the best offensive weapons in the game today, but when you look at their running back rotations in Las Vegas and Los Angeles, it's just not all that inspiring.
If the Chargers were to lose Austin Ekeler for any significant period of time, I think it would absolutely cripple this position group for them. And as a pure running back, Austin Ekeler doesn't exactly strike fear into defenses. He averages about 12 total carries per game, but it's his ability as a receiver that really sets him apart from other NFL backs. He averaged more than six receptions per game over the course of last season.