Let’s start reviewing the Los Angeles Chargers position by position and figure out what they need to be looking for in the 2017 NFL Draft.
Up today, the running backs.
The starter: Melvin Gordon
The backups: Kenjon Barner, Kenneth Farrow, Ronnie Hillman, Dexter McCluster, Branden Oliver, Andre Williams
What they need: Someone that can fill in for Gordon without a huge dropoff
Last year, in his second season as a professional, Gordon proved that he was a capable professional running back. His patience and decisiveness improved to the point that he was able to have success even though the offensive line was still in shambles. Hopefully, the Chargers’ offensive line and run concepts will give him and his fellow running backs more to work with, but regardless of what happens up front, the team needs another quality backup.
Barner, Hillman, and McCluster are third-down receiving back specialists on a good day and none of them should even be in the conversation for the primary backup to Gordon.
Farrow showed flashes as a rookie that he might become a reasonable backup, but that’s not something you want to rely on if you don’t have to. Oliver has his moments certainly but he has struggled to stay healthy during his career. And Williams spent most of the last year on the practice squad for a reason. He’s a reclamation project and he was never particularly good in the first place.
In the draft, you cannot expect the Chargers to use their first round selection on a running back (and they really should not). The second round is still perhaps a bit too much draft capital to splash on a position where there is not an obvious need. Once they get to round three, there has to be serious consideration given to upgrading, though. A player like Joe Mixon could potentially be available there (though the team could be hesitant to add someone with his history). The beginning of day three will see many talented backs still on the board, though, and the Chargers could certainly benefit from picking one of them up.