Good morning, Chargers fans!
Aside from first-round pick Zion Johnson, the next rookie that’s been receiving plenty of hype this offseason has been running back Isaiah Spiller. Chargers legend LaDainian Tomlinson has been a steady voice for praise regarding Spiller since he was drafted and it seems others who cover the NFL are continuing to take notice.
Chris Trapasso of CBS Sports recently put together a list of non-day one rookies that he believes could make an impact in their first professional seasons and Spiller was unsurprisingly his guy for the Bolts. Here’s what he had to say:
“Spiller was tied with Ken Walker as my RB1 in the 2022 class. Outside of running like a track star, everything he does on the field as a back is excellent. Vision, cutting, contact balance, receiving ability — it’s all there. Now, the elephant in the room is that Austin Ekeler stands in Spiller’s way on the depth chart. It’s not that I believe Spiller will pass him on it; he’ll just scoot around him, because they should be utilized in different ways. Spiller can handle more “traditional” between-the-tackle duties with Ekeler gravitating toward more of a hybrid slot role now entering his sixth NFL season.”
While Spiller was mainly a top-three or five back in the draft for the majority of scouts/analysts, Trapasso admits Spiller was at the very top for him, personally. Similar to how the Chargers used Ekeler alongside Melvin Gordon several years back, we can likely expect a similar game plan this season now that the team has a bonafide RB2 on the roster again.
Does that mean Ekeler could potentially push for 1,000 yards receiving? Possibly, but as more positive game scripts are to be expected, Ekeler may not be force-fed the ball nearly as often as he did during that span. Either way, Spiller’s presence should open this offense up in a way it hasn’t been able to for the past few seasons.
And now for today’s links,
Check out the video recap of the Chargers’ third annual golf invitational (Chargers.com)
The best defensive plays so far in OTAs (Chargers.com)
Three free agents the Chargers could still add (Bolt Beat)
Where does Brandon Staley stand among the hierarchy of NFL coaches? (Bolt Beat)
The Rams extended Cooper Kupp for three years and $80 million (ESPN)
The Texans will be added as a defendant in the lawsuits against the quarterback (ESPN)
Nine players seeking a new contract or a trade (CBS Sports)
Five teams that helped their quarterback this offseason and three who did not (NFL.com)
Laurent Duvernay-Tardif is once again pausing his NFL career for his medical career (NFL.com)
Jack Del Rio apologized for his lack of critical-thinking skills (Pro Football Talk)