Ryan Mathews – San Diego Chargers new RB

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In the last NFL draft on April 22, the San Diego Chargers took a big risk and swapped 16 players, one of which is running back Ryan Mathews, who also happens to be their only pick from the draft’s top 90.

Although the Chargers had to cough up some big bucks for their new running back, they feel that they made the right decision and are confident that Ryan Mathews has the potential to be really, really good. He’s adept as a complete back and has no medical issues or history– so that’s a good sign.

Ryan Mathews was a junior at Fresno State before getting drafted to the San Diego Chargers.  Mathew, at 5’11.5 and 220 pounds, averaged 6.6 yards per carry and scored 19 touchdowns last year. You can see his full stats here. Mathews seems to be the whole package, and then some. Colts president Bill Polian says, “He’s a complete back. He’s got great speed. He can break tackles. He can make you miss. He’s got vision. He can go all the way. He blocks and he catches.”

In regards to all of the rumors that the Texans were going to draft him, Mathews was glad that he ended up with the Chargers instead. “All the talk about Houston and stuff, it really started to scare me and everything,” said Mathews. “I’m lucky and blessed that [the Chargers] traded up and picked me. I’m super-excited. It’s mind-blowing that they did that.” The feelings are mutual too– “When you see this guy play, you’re going to understand why we made the deal we did,” said Chargers coach Norv Turner. “He’s extremely special. A complete back. Physical. Fast. He’s got great feet, great vision.”

Turner says that he’s as excited for Mathews to join the team as he was when the Chargers drafted Tomlinson from Texas Christian University in 2001. Tomlinson is Mathews’ hero, and he even wore #21 at Fresno State — the same number as LT. Chargers’ director of player personnel even said that the two have similarities in playing-style. That’s exciting to hear, especially since LT is now with the NY Jets.

Check out Ryan Mathews’ highlights from 2009 below.

What do you think, San Diego? Did we make a good decision in drafting Ryan Mathews? Does he have what it takes to fill LT’s big shoes?

*Photo by Steven Bartholow


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