Chargers Draft Dish: Running Back Roundup

The Chargers have made no secret about their plans to draft a running back to replace Michael Turner. The search for a new pair of legs intensified as of late, as Bolts officials attended the Pro Days of two top prospects while telling a third player that he could be the "perfect replacement" for Turner. Only has the details.

Speed to Burn

What better way to replace Michael "The Burner" Turner than by drafting a player with scorching speed? San Diego scouts attended the recent Pro Day of East Carolina running back Chris Johnson. It was not the first time the Chargers showed an interest in Johnson, as the team snagged him for a private meeting during Senior Bowl week.

Johnson solidified his status as a first-round pick when he paced all running backs with a 4.24-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine. He could replace Turner's big-play ability, as The Burner delivered at least one run of 70-plus yards in each of the last three seasons.

The Obvious Choice

In my recent appearance on the NFL Network, I stated that Georgia Tech running back Tashard Choice would be a perfect fit in San Diego. Apparently, the Chargers agree. After meeting with Choice at the Senior Bowl and following up with a private interview at the NFL Combine, the Bolts met with him a third time during his recent Pro Day.

Choice is a powerful between-the-tackles runner who knows how to run to daylight. He has the power to break tackles and the agility to make plays in space. If he is still on the board when the Chargers' compensatory pick comes up, the team will likely jump on him—assuming A.J. Smith hasn't already drafted a running back at that point.

The "Perfect Replacement"

The Chargers recently met with South Carolina running back Cory Boyd and told him he could be the "perfect replacement" for Turner. Last season, Boyd carried 180 times for 903 yards (5.0 ypc) and nine touchdowns. He is also a threat to catch the ball out of the backfield, logging at least 35 receptions each of the last three years.

The Chargers' strong verbiage would seem to make Boyd the frontrunner to fill Turner's shoes. However, Boyd's agent, David Canter, cautions against jumping to conclusions.

"The Chargers are one of those teams where you can never really tell if they like your guy," he said. reporters Samantha Fillerup, Brad Wilbricht and James Jones contributed to this report.

Michael Lombardo is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and a long-time contributor to the network. He has followed the Chargers for more than 14 years and covered the team since 2003.

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