CBS Sports has been working on a series over the last few weeks where they rank the eight divisions within the NFL by talent at various position groups. From quarterback to safety, they’re going to rank them all.
Recently, NFL writer Jared Dubin took to the task of ranking the divisions by their cumulative talent at the running back position.
So, where did the AFC West land in this bunch? Surprisingly, with a healthy combination of first-round picks and former undrafted free agents, the AFC West landed at #4, one spot ahead of the NFC North and just behind the NFC South.
Here’s what Dubin had to say about the backfield duo of Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson:
“Ekeler is one of the best pass-catching backs in the league, and he’s finally getting a shot as something resembling the No. 1 guy. He’s only carried 15-plus times in a game three times in his career, though, so Jackson should be pretty significantly involved as well. He ripped off a few big runs last year but it’s difficult to put much stock in such a limited sample.”
Dubin is on the right path with his takes on the two runners. Ekeler hasn’t seen much of a “workhorse” load at running back and even as the No. 1 in 2020, he likely still won’t — at least, not solely on the ground. Ekeler will still see 18-20 touches combined with this use in the passing game so I wouldn’t get too worked up about the “not a true No. 1 back” talk.
As we saw in both 2018 and 2019, Jackson is an incredibly efficient runner when given the opportunity. However, those opportunities have become few-and-far in between due to a consistent injury history. As a complement to Ekeler last year while Melvin Gordon was still holding out, Jackson averaged over 8.0 yards per carry, and that’s with a huge run negated due to a holding call on wide receiver Dontrelle Inman during their Week 3 matchup.
Both running backs can easily make their mark on any given game, but will the offense be consistent enough that we get to see it? Time will tell.
Now for today’s links.
LB Drue Tranquill unveils a new interview series (Chargers.com)
Hayley Elwood interviews rookie WR Joe Reed (Chargers.com)
Gavino Borquez lists four Chargers who could be worthy of a 10-year contract (Chargers Wire)
Jason Reed lists the greatest Chargers to wear #67 (Bolt Beat)
Cameron Heyward is not a fan of DeSean Jackson’s latest actions (Bleacher Report)
The initial rankings for rookie QBs in Madden have been released (Bleacher Report)
The Big Ten Conference will play a conference-only schedule in 2020 (CBS Sports)
John Breech lists the NFL most-overpaid players (CBS Sports)
Mina Kimes discusses why the goal-line fade is a relic in the modern NFL (ESPN)