The Chargers were fueled by the breakout campaign from Austin Ekeler last season. For teams to succeed in the NFL, role players need to step into bigger roles and contribute. Here are three Chargers who could be in line for a breakout season in 2020.
3. Justin Jackson, Running Back
Justin Jackson started his rookie year as a backup to Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler. However, when Gordon missed several games late in the season due to an injury, Jackson stepped in and showed flashes of his potential. The following season, Gordon’s holdout for a bigger contract allowed Jackson to team up with Ekeler and form a strong backfield.
Justin Jackson is an excellent downfield runner, patient on each carry, and capable of catching passes out of the backfield. Ekeler will get a lot of touches for the Chargers, but a breakout season from Jackson could launch him into the type of role Melvin Gordon had when he made the Pro-Bowl back in 2018.
2. Rayshawn Jenkins, Safety
With all of the attention going to Derwin James in the Chargers secondary, some of the role players who contribute significantly are forgotten. Rayshawn Jenkins is one of them. Last season, Jenkins started all 16 games after being a backup for his first two seasons in the league. While his three interceptions and 54 tackles aren’t bad for a third-year player, a starting free safety should be contributing much more.
A breakout season from Jenkins can put him up there with Derwin James, Chris Harris Jr, and the other studs in the Chargers’ secondary. Not only will the Bolts defense dominate if Jenkins can step up, but they would have arguably the best safety duo in the NFL, similarly to Harrison Smith and Anthony Harris of the Minnesota Vikings.
1. Mike Williams, Wide Receiver
Mike Williams has been good enough to be the number two receiver for the Chargers, however he hasn’t given them the production that other teams get from their second receiver. Williams started five games for the Bolts in 2018 and tallied ten receiving touchdowns. The following season he was a thousand-yard receiver but only caught two touchdowns.
Williams has yet to put together a complete season. The 2020 season is full of opportunities for the fourth-year receiver out of Clemson. He will have a new quarterback and an elite defense that will give the offense more chances to score. A breakout season from Williams can make him one of the toughest receivers to guard due to his size and speed.