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Is Austin Ekeler better than Melvin Gordon?

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NFL: AFC Wild Card-Los Angeles Chargers at Baltimore Ravens Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Before we get sidetracked from the question in the headline, let’s start by answering it. Yes, Austin Ekeler is obviously better than Melvin Gordon, and frankly it’s so obvious that it’s a little insulting to Ekeler that we are even pretending there is a question. Now, some of you have no doubt spent the last few years drunk on the Melvin Gordon Kool-Aid, and you are thus now either upset with me for saying such slanderous things or you assume I am joking.

Before we move on, let’s spend a moment explaining why those of you who fall into the aforementioned categories are wrong. First of all, what I said was in writing so they would be libelous not slanderous, and since what I said is objectively correct it is actually neither. Also, since I am being deadly serious, you are also wrong for assuming I am joking. You are also, as the saying goes, making an ass out of both you and me, which I do not appreciate and since I am not in the business of assuming things about you, I won’t comment on how you are affected by it.

Now, because I respect our readers, I will stop merely asserting obvious truths and instead back them up with simple facts that even those with whom I disagree can easily understand. Pro Football Focus’ Austin Gayle laid out some pretty damning stats earlier today:

There is plenty to unpack here. First, nobody knows how or why Mr. Gayle chose to shorten Austin Ekeler to AK (and this includes Mr. Gayle himself). We can, of course, all agree that this is a fine question.

Second, Ekeler’s two-year touch total of 237 is significantly lower than Gordon’s 595. What you can draw from that is that Ekeler’s success rate would likely fall some from where it has been the last two years if he played a number of snaps closer to Gordon’s workload during that same time. Luckily for those who support the Chargers true RB1, Ekeler has such a big lead that it is unlikely his efficiency would fall all the way to Gordon’s level.

Finally, “but Melvin Gordon sees more men in the box than Austin Ekeler!” some are no doubt shrieking impotently into the their monitors or screens or whatever you fine people read our humble blog on. This is true! And interestingly it does not support your argument the way your shrieking tone would suggest you believe it does. This is for several reasons, but for the sake of brevity we will stick with two. First, Ekeler sees fewer defenders in the box in part because the offense is more dynamic and less predictable with him in the backfield. Second, that would in no way, shape, or form help Ekeler in the passing game where he actually sports his biggest advantage.

In summation, while we can all agree that Ekeler is better than Gordon, we can also agree that the Chargers are better with Gordon on the team, and hopefully this holdout mess goes away so people can go back to debating whether Gordon or Todd Gurley is the second-best running back in Los Angeles behind Ekeler.

UPDATE:

Poll

Is Austin Ekeler better than Melvin Gordon?

This poll is closed

  • 66%
    Obviously, yes.
    (637 votes)
  • 31%
    I guess so.
    (302 votes)
  • 2%
    No
    (20 votes)
959 votes total Vote Now