Something about the last name “Sanders” and the Chargers in regards to 2024 mock drafts.
On Monday, I highlighted another 2024 mock from Pro Football Focus that had the Chargers selecting Texas tight end Ja’Tavion Sanders with their first-round pick. In this new mock from CBS Sports, the NFL draft analyst Ryan Wilson has the Chargers selecting Arkansas running back Raheim “Rocket” Sanders to be their long-term starter ahead of Austin Ekeler hitting free agency next March.
Here’s what he had to say about the selection:
“We saw two RBs go in the first round of the ‘23 draft and we thought Bijan Robinson would be a great fit for the Chargers had he still been available (he wasn’t). They get that first-round RB here.”
Sanders broke out in his first season as the starter in Fayetteville with 1,443 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns. He also contributed through the air with an additional 271 yards and two more scores. He unsurprisingly earned First-Team All-SEC honors after posting the fourth-most rushing yards by an Arkansas running back in program history.
At 6’2 and nearly 240 pounds, they don’t quite make them like Sanders every year. Heck, at that size, it makes runs like this one in the tweet below even more impressive.
In his 2022 tape, Sanders shows a powerful, yet fluid, running style which he uses to glide by defenders in the open field. He has notable contact balance and isn’t afraid to lower his shoulder, but I’d like to see him develop a better stiff arm for someone of his stature. Either way, his early film is an exciting watch and it’s not surprising to see him pop up in these early first-round mocks after so many talented backs left in the 2023 draft class.
Raheim 'Rocket' Sanders, a thread. pic.twitter.com/zWpkwfGmsf— Nick Penticoff (@NickPenticoff) March 18, 2023
The Chargers will ultimately need a new running back and the writing is on the wall that the 2023 season will be the last for Ekeler in powder blue. If he believes he deserves more money, and the Chargers aren’t giving it to him now, they’re certainly not going to give it to him when he is another year older. That sets things up for the running back spot to be a potential pick early in next year’s draft.