San Diego made a trade with the Miami Dolphins to move up from the 28th pick in order to select Mathews to be the replacement for future hall of fame running back LaDainian Tomlinson.
Mathews had 158 rushing attempts, 678 yards and seven rushing touchdowns in 12 games as a rookie in 2010. Mathews had 222 attempts, 1,091 yards and six rushing touchdowns in 14 games in 2011. Mathews ranked 10th in the NFL in rushing yards last season.
Mathews’ problem other than being able to consistently stay on the field is his tendency to fumble. In his career, Mathews has 11 fumbles in 28 games. This has not set well with Chargers general manager A.J. Smith.
According to Brian Murphy of fftoolbox.com, Smith was quoted as saying “When you get the call to go back on the field and the fumbling continues, then you will be somebody else’s fumbler.”
Mathews has the potential to be a great RB, but health and fumbles are concerns. Mathews’ longest streak without a fumble lasted five games and ended against the Houston Texans in week nine during the 2010 season.
The Lightning Bolts have a 5-4 record when Mathews fumbles, but when Mathews loses a fumble, they have a 2-4 record.
Injuries ended the stints of first round picks like Shawne Merriman, Luis Castillo and Craig Davis.
After trading former first round pick Antonio Cromartie to the New York Jets and dealing with the injury plagued 2009 first round pick Larry English, Smith is running out of patience.
San Diego has not made the playoffs since the 2009 season, and has a 3-5 record in the playoffs since Smith became the GM. This could be Smith’s last season as San Diego’s GM and one has to wonder if this will be the last season for Mathews in San Diego as well.