Los Angeles Chargers Draft Steal? How 6th-Round Pick Kimani Vidal Can Become a Major Contributor

Credit: Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Chargers have beefed up their running back room through free agency and now through the draft. This was to be expected since Greg Roman’s offense run the ball. A lot. Gus Edwards, J.K. Dobbins, and now Kimani Vidal.

The Chargers didn’t have to take the Troy Trojan’s star running back until the sixth round, but there is a chance that he can become a player that has a major impact on the offense. Here is why;

1. The Los Angeles Chargers Offense

NFL: Arizona Cardinals at San Francisco 49ers
Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

It has already been mentioned, Greg Roman runs the ball a lot. In his 10 seasons as a NFL offensive coordinator, Roman has been in the top three in rushing attempts seven times and in the top 10 in all 10 season.

Gus Edwards has never been expected to bear the full workload and Dobbins has never been able to stay healthy. This spells out that Vidal will get a fair number of touches in his rookie season

2. Vidal as a Blocker

Los Angeles Chargers Draft Pick
Los Angeles Chargers Draft Pick: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Let’s start with more basics about the Jim Harbaugh/Roman offense. Everyone needs to block, including running backs, even one who is 5’8″ like Vidal. It’s no coincidence that Vidal was one of college football’s best pass blockers last season. And it wasn’t like it was a small sample size. Only 16 running backs saw more than 100 pass-blocking assignments. Vidal was one of them. He allowed six hurries, no hits, and zero sacks in 121 assignments.

3. Big Play Ability

Now to the fun part. Vidal not only ran for the second-most yards in college football, he led rushes of 10 yards or more. He also forced the second-most missed tackles last season as well. He picked up 82 first downs, meaning 28 percent of his attempts moved the sticks.

This is the kind of haymaker hitter the Baltimore Ravens expected Dobbins to be and one Gus Edwards will never be. But he also brings with him the steadfastness of other former Harbaugh running backs, Frank Gore and Blake Corum, but also brings a shiftiness and explosiveness that can break drives and games wide open.

The One Big Question

There is always the question when a player makes the trip from college to the pros; will his skills translate to a higher level? And that question is even more pronounced for small school players. It is impossible to simulate playing at the NFL level, but if he is ready to meet the moment and his coaches come up with the best game plan Vidal should be a major contributor in the 2024 season.

NCAA Football: Troy at Coastal Carolina
Los Angeles Chargers Draft Pick: David Yeazell-USA TODAY Sports Credit: David Yeazell-USA TODAY Sports