Projecting the Chargers’ running back depth chart in 2022

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Over the next couple of weeks, I will be breaking down the depth chart for each Chargers position.

Quarterback

Next up, I project what the running backs room will look like heading into the 2022 season.

RB1: Austin Ekeler

From undrafted free agent to one of the league’s most dynamic weapons. With his multi-dimensional skillset, Ekeler posted 911 yards on the ground and scored a whopping 12 times. He also produced 70 catches for 647 yards and eight touchdowns through the air. Ekeler will get a decent amount of carries, with 200 carries a strong possibility. Further, the coaching staff will still want to use his pass-catching abilities, making him a reliable target for Justin Herbert in the flats.

RB2: Isaiah Spiller

Selected in the fourth round, Spiller was one of the top value selections after being pegged as one of best running backs in this class. Now a Charger, the hope is for Spiller to emerge as Ekeler’s primary backup after the team has struggled to establish the RB2 role since Melvin Gordon’s departure. After two years of Ekeler running the show by himself in the backfield, Spiller has the skillset to be his reliable running mate. Spiller is big, physical and elusive as a runner and also has solid hands, catching 74 passes over three seasons at Texas A&M.

RB3: Larry Rountree

Coming out of training camp last year, Rountree was pegged to be the short-yardage back, but the former sixth-round pick was hardly effective in that role despite the team’s desperate need to develop a complement Ekeler. Instead, Rountree found himself a healthy inactive by the midway point of the season and eventually served strictly as a special-teamer from Week 12 onward. Rountree finished his rookie campaign with 36 carries for 87 yards and a touchdown across 12 games. Rountree’s special teams ability ultimately nudges Joshua Kelley, who has been underwhelming since entering the league in 2020.

RB4: Kevin Marks

The Chargers carried four running backs last year, and I am confident they will take the same approach this season. Kelley is a candidate to return, but I believe one of the undrafted free agents, Marks or Leddie Brown, will earn the roster spot. I am giving the leg up to Marks, who left Buffalo as the No. 5 all-time leading rusher in yards (3,035), fifth in carries (667), and tied for third all-time in rushing touchdowns (33). Marks has the physical profile, is strong between the tackles, is very patient, and when he sees a lane open up, he has the burst to get down the field quickly. It would not be surprising to see Marks surpass Rountree as the team’s third back.

FB: Zander Horvath

The Chargers used their final selection in this year’s draft to pick Horvath, who will go into training camp in a battle with Gabe Nabers. I believe it’s ultimately Horvath’s job to lose. His athleticism and strength show up on the football field in different areas, as Horvath can make an impact as a runner, receiver, and blocker. His overall skill set could make him the replacement for Stephen Anderson as the team’s hybrid H-back.