Will Isaiah Spiller Overtake Joshua Kelley As The Primary Backup Running Back In 2023?

Isaiah Spiller never got started last year after being drafted in the fourth round. Will he make his mark this season?

Isaiah Spiller had a promising start during training camp and the preseason games of the 2022 season, but then injuries sidelined him off and on throughout the rest of 2022. With Spiller healthy, will he take the primary backup running back spot away from Joshua Kelley?

Spiller’s Skills 

Spiller had 25 rushing touchdowns, 3,005 rushing yards, and one receiving touchdown throughout his three years of playing at Texan A&M. He was picked in the fourth round in 2022. The NFL combine analysis predicted that he would be an “average starter.” In terms of some of the strengths noted in the analysis, he is “able to recalibrate his run in the face of sudden roadblocks,” and he has “adequate foot quickness, which helps to slip backfield leakage.”

I wrote a bit about Spiller during our rookie check-in last season and some of these strengths were on full display during the Chargers/Rams preseason game. In each snap played in that matchup, Spiller gutted through the defense.

After the injuries, Spiller lost a little juice and aggressiveness from the preseason. In the very few snaps he actually played in regular season games, he didn’t make much of an impact and was far away from the 34 rushing yards we had seen against the Rams. 

NFL: Los Angeles Chargers at Arizona Cardinals
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

How Will This Season Look For Isaiah Spiller? 

Joshua Kelley had a good but not great season last year with 303 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns, matching what he’s done in previous seasons. He also missed several games with an MCL injury. He’s the more experienced player and the go-to number two on the team, but I’m not counting out Spiller. If Isaiah Spiller stays healthy, he has a chance to turn things around. In his final season of college, Spiller had 1,016 rushing yards and six rushing touchdowns, while only playing 209 rushing snaps. He did a lot with a little, and perhaps he just needs a tiny opportunity to make a big impression and firmly claims that number two position.

Vote Now! Will Joshua Kelley or Isaiah Spiller Claim the Backup RB Job?