Instant Reaction: Running Back Joshua Kelley, UCLA

Hometown UCLA running back Joshua Kelley became the latest fourth-round pick for the Chargers. He profiles as the Chargers’ new short yardage back with decent weight (212 lbs), good agility (6.95 second 3-cone) and 12 touchdowns in each of the past two years. As a bonus, he did not lose any fumbles while at UCLA. He also has a returning background, which provides additional competition at that position.

How does he fit with the Chargers?

It is clear that Justin Jackson is talented, but he has not stayed healthy. As such, the Chargers couldn’t go into 2020 with only him spelling Austin Ekeler. He compliments Ekeler well and can hold the backfield while Ekeler lines up all over the position. Bottom line: Kelley is the Melvin Gordon replacement and will be a solid, if unspectacular, complimentary back to Ekeler.

Who they could have had…

This was the first player that was not mentioned in the FPC Chargers Draft Guide. The value of the pick is limited considering players like offensive tackle Ben Bartch, defensive tackle Leki Fotu, offensive tackle Charlie Heck, wide receiver Gabriel Davis and center Tyler Biadasz were all still available. To fill that grinder role, they could have drafted other running backs such as Darius Anderson, Patrick Taylor, Javon Leake or Michael Warren who are all still available (currently late in the sixth round).

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