The San Diego Chargers have to be more explosive at running the football in 2013 than they were in 2012. San Diego averaged 3.6 yards per attempt, which ranked 31st in the NFL, and their four rushing touchdowns were tied with the Oakland Raiders for last in the league.
Ryan Mathews was San Diego’s primary rusher as his 184 carries accounted for 45 percent of the team’s rushing attempts. He averaged a career low 3.8 yards per attempt to go along with a career-low one touchdown in 12 games last season.
San Diego’s front office has to make a move this off-season and an option could be former North Carolina Tar Heels running back Giovani Bernard. He had 1,253 rushing yards, averaged 5.2 yards per attempt and had 13 rushing touchdowns in 2011, following this up with 1,228 yards, 6.7 yards per attempt and 12 rushing touchdowns in 2012.
According to cbssports.com, Bernard is ranked 59th among prospects and second at his position. San Diego has the 13th pick in round two, which is the 45th pick overall. There is a chance that Bernard could be chosen ahead of his projection depending on a team’s needs, but if he is available, San Diego should take him.
While Mathews ranked 10th in the NFL with 1,091 rushing yards in 2011, he is injury prone. He missed five games with a knee injury in 2008, was absent from four games in 2010 and missed four games in 2012 after breaking a clavicle, once before the season and then in a loss to the Carolina Panthers in week 15.
As of today, San Diego is about $6.5 million under the salary cap, which could be used to go after a free agent running back, a free agent wide receiver or a free agent offensive lineman–all of which needs improvement.
San Diego’s front office has to go after another running back who will split attempts with Mathews, which will limit his chances of suffering an injury in 2013.