Los Angeles Chargers Draft: Top 5 Running Back Targets

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The Los Angeles Chargers added Gus Edwards to the running back room in free agency, but they will need to build out that room given the increased usage in Jim Harbaugh/ Greg Roman offenses.

The draft class doesn’t have a consensus first or second-rounder, so the Chargers will have to look to day three to fill this need.

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Round 3: Pick 69

Braelon Allen, Wisconsin: Allen is big, (6’1″ 235 lbs), he’s strong (26, 225 lbs bench reps) and he is young (won’t turn 21 till 2025). He isn’t the most explosive back in the world but has enough one-cut burst to get there and he won’t be taken down by first contact. 69.5 percent of his yardage in 2023 came after contact).

He will need to become a reliable pass protector and take better care of the ball to make it on a Harbaugh team, but his overwhelming physicality will fit right in with Edwards

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Round 4: Pick 105

NCAA Football: ACC Football Championship-Louisville at Florida State
Los Angeles Chargers Draft Running Back Targets: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Trey Benson, Florida State: Benson should be drawing a lot more attention than he is for a few reasons. He had a stellar junior season but took a step back as a senior. Florida State is far from being a run-first team. And Benson doesn’t realize that he is a big bruising tailback, not an elusive scatback.

At 6′, 206 lbs, he can dole out a blow but needs to build the confidence to hit the hole and run through defenses rather than bounce around, waiting for something to happen. He’s an exceptional pass-blocker as well, allowing just five pressures on 388 assignments.

Round 4: Pick 110

NCAA Football: Southern California at California
Los Angeles Chargers Draft Running Back Targets: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Marshawn Lloyd, USC: Lloyd finished his college days with a great season, rushing for a career-high 820 yards, at a 7.1 yards per clip.

Lloyd showcases a powerful, compact build (5’9″ 220lbs) and relentless drive, relying on his sharp vision and explosive speed to make plays from the backfield. Despite his occasional issues with ball security, combined with a narrower range of receiving skills, he will fit nicely with Edwards as an explosive homerun threat.

He’s allowed 10 pressures and one sack in 509 blocking assignments.

Round 5: Pick 140

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Los Angeles Chargers Draft Running Back Targets: Matt Stone/The Courier Journal / USA TODAY NETWORK Credit: Matt Stone/The Courier Journal / USA TODAY NETWORK

Isaac Guerendo, Louisville: Can I interest you in a 6′ 220lbs running back with 4.33 speed? Meet Isaac Guerendo. He also placed in the 95th percentile in both the vertical and broad jump.

Guerendo has flown under the radar having to split backfield duties at both Wisconsin and Louisville. But his carries nearly doubled from 2022 to 2023 after he transferred and his production skyrocketed, despite playing second fiddle to Jawhar Jordan.

All that track speed doesn’t fully translate, but he doesn’t shy away from contact and has plenty of technique to pick up positive yardage on a regular basis.

Round 6: Pick 183

NCAA Football: LendingTree Bowl-Rice vs Southern Mississippi
Los Angeles Chargers Draft Running Back Targets: Robert McDuffie-USA TODAY Sports Credit: Robert McDuffie-USA TODAY Sports

Frank Gore Jr., Southern Mississippi: The last time Harbaugh was in the league he had a Frank Gore on his team. Now he has a chance to have another.

Gore is a versatile back who is a great downhill runner and catch-and-run. He is a slippery multi-purpose back with straight-line speed that allows him to outpace defenders and turn the corner. Gore is an excellent pass-blocker as well.

Gore’s size limitations pose challenges for him to excel as a true power back. He also likes contact a bit too much, which will present more issues in the NFL that didn’t exist at Southern Mississippi.