3 Reasons Why The Los Angeles Chargers Shouldn’t Draft Blake Corum In 2024

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Los Angeles Chargers fans are already excited about the team’s future after the hiring of head coach Jim Harbaugh. With the 2024 NFL Draft approaching, there’s even more anticipation for what’s to come. However, it would be a mistake to reunite Harbaugh with running back Blake Corum.

Running back is one of the biggest Chargers draft needs in 2024, especially with Austin Ekeler uncertain to return. While the 2024 NFL Draft class isn’t particularly strong at running back, there are several ball-carriers Los Angeles should pursue. With that said, there are red flags that should push the team away from selecting Corum outside of the late rounds.

Here are 3 reasons why the Chargers shouldn’t target Blake Corum in the 2024 NFL Draft.

1. Michigan Wolverines, Jim Harbaugh put a lot of miles on Blake Corum

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Corum, a 5-foot-8 running back, enrolled at Michigan as a four-star recruit in the 2020 class. Coming out of Maryland, he weighed 200 pounds after his senior season at Saint Frances Academy in Baltimore. Named the Gatorade Player of the Year in Maryland for the 2019-’20 academic year, he amassed 172 carries in his final season of high school.

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Michigan eased Corum in as a freshman, giving him just 31 total touches during his first year on campus. He took on a much larger workload as a sophomore, receiving 168 touches (1,093 scrimmage yards) in 12 games. After seeing him average 6.6 yards per carry and 6.5 yards per touch as a sophomore with 12 touchdowns, Harbaugh rightfully made Corum the centerpiece of his offense.

Corum received nearly 100 additional carries in his junior season, ranking 13th in the FBS in carries (247). However, that workload could’ve been even higher. He suffered a knee injury on Nov. 19, 2023, against Illinois then tried to play the following week against Ohio State, receiving 2 carries before being pulled. Considering he averaged 27.5 carries per game from Sept. 24 – Nov. 12 that season, it’s reasonable to believe Corum would’ve averaged 25-plus touches against Illinois, Ohio State, Purdue and TCU if not for his season-ending injury.

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This past season wasn’t any different. Corum set career-highs in carries (258, 7th in FBS) and touches (274). That’s 523 touches in his last 27 games, with an even higher workload average if you remove games played through injury. Corum isn’t a phenomenal athlete nor is he especially elusive in open space, so he took on a lot of hits both on first contact and after.

That’s already a huge toll for a 5-foot-8 running back to take. It immediately raises long-term concerns about his longevity in the NFL, because we’ve seen far larger running backs become less effective after taking on heavy workloads. What makes it more concerning is what’s happened to Corum because of those hits.

2. Blake Corum injury history leaves reason for concern

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Injuries are part of football and they happen to every player, but running backs take the highest frequency and often the most punishing hits in football. Unfortunately for Corum, some of those hits have already forced him to miss significant time.

As highlighted by DraftSharks, Corum missed 2 games during the 2021 season with an ankle sprain. The following season, he suffered a meniscus tear, an MCL tear and a bone bruise in his left knee. After first attempting to play through the injury against Ohio State in November, Corum underwent surgery that kept him out of spring practice in 2023.

That’s already two left-leg injuries that each forced Corum to miss multiple games. Again, this is a 5-foot-8 running back who was never really regarded as an elite athlete with game-changing movement skills in the open field. Already dealing with lower-body injuries this early into a career is concerning, especially considering his size. What brings all of this home to our biggest concern is what happened to his effectiveness as a ball carrier.

3. Injuries, workload have already diminished his effectiveness

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Many will vividly remember the dominant running back who led Michigan’s backfield from 2021-’22. At that time, before his knee injuries, Corum legitimately looked like a surefire Day 2 pick in the NFL Draft. Post-injury, however, he performed like a different player.

Blake Corum advanced stats

Yards after Contact per Att.Missed Tackles Forced10+ Yard RunsBreakaway Run RateElusive Rating
20223.35 (20th)73 (9th)35 (17th)40.9% (17th)97.5 (16th)
20232.42 (74th)30 (62nd)25 (41st)31.8% (56th)27.4 (74th)
Statistics via Pro Football Focus. Data among FBS running backs with 50% of rushing attempts

There’s another stat worth highlighting. Corum’s 10 percent broken tackle rate, per David Zach, puts him in company with Matt Breida and below the likes of Phillip Lindsay (17 percent), Hasaan Haskins (14 percent), Ty Johnson (14 percent) and Sincere McCormick (12 percent) when they entered the NFL Draft. If you break it down further by the broken tackle rate adjusted by SOS, Corum’s 6.9 percent rate is worse than Samaje Perine (7.5 percent), Kelley (7.5 percent) and right in line with Tyrion Davis-Price.

Michigan fans have suggested that the Ohio State game this past season was a turning point for Corum, when he appeared to start returning to form. However, across his final 106 attempts – 2.01 yards after contact per attempt, 26.2 percent breakaway run rate and 25.1 Elusive rating – nothing looks different.

Harbaugh still gets to make the ultimate decision and maybe Corum can return to his pre-injury form. Making that bet on a 5-foot-8 running back with more than 500 touches over the last two years and average speed, however, is not a bet worth taking outside the first four rounds. If Corum is going to be taken in the first four rounds of the 2024 NFL Draft, Los Angeles should let someone else have him.