Austin Ekeler – RB
Austin Ekeler might be sharing time on the field with rookie running back Joshua Kelley. But the Carolina Panthers should be on high alert whenever he touches the ball.
Ekeler proved his worth as a dual-threat in his first real taste of prominent starting action in 2019. This gave the Los Angeles Chargers enough confidence to let Melvin Gordon go in free agency. But after a quiet opening display in Week 1, he looked more like his old self against the Kansas City Chiefs.
There is nothing Ekeler cannot do on the field. His low center of gravity makes him extremely elusive and he possesses a surprising ability to gain yards after contact. The player’s obvious talent in the passing game is there for all to see and this is an area where the Panthers have struggled so far this season.
Whether splitting carries with Kelley is going to hamper his overall chances of gaining career numbers in 2020 remains to be seen. It should provide Ekeler with an increased sense of urgency, at the very least, and this matchup against Carolina is one he is sure to relish.
His outstanding level of performance over the last fortnight has earned Ekeler 235 all-purpose yards and a 78.2 grade from Pro Football Focus. If the Panthers’ defense is unable to halt his momentum, it is going to be a long afternoon.