Chargers Prospect Q&A: Risk-Reward Halfback

The empty air behind Ladainian Tomlinson will force A. J. Smith to address the team's demand for a running back this weekend. The Bolts met with this prospect a few months ago stoked his impact as a runner, receiver and return specialist. After injury struck during the offseason, the Bolts scrutinize whether or not he has the durability they seek.

Kentucky running back Rafael Little left a noteworthy streak with the Wildcats. He led his team in rushing and punt returns for three consecutive seasons and concluded his senior year with 1,037 rushing yards. Twice in his career, he had 100 rushing yards and 100 receiving yards in the same game.

At 5'10", 195 pounds, Little has the burst of speed and a surprisingly powerful physical presence on the field -- more than his size would indicate. He's an adept route-runner and has stellar skills as a punt and kick returner, a combo that will undeniably draw the Chargers' consideration.

After Little injured his knee during the Senior Bowl, the Bolts grew weary of his stability. Keeping his head high, Little is optimistic he is on the right path and his draft stock hasn't been tarnished.

"I think my injury is right where it needs to be," he said. "I'm hoping teams look at how I played during my college career and it won't affect my draft stock too much."

Having undergone successful surgery to repair his ACL at the beginning of March, Little didn't miss a beat in hitting the rehab process. While he is expected to be back on the field in 6-8 months, the frustrated Little had to sit with the water-boys at the NFL Combine and his team's Pro Day.

"It has been irritating having to watch everyone else compete. Not being out there has been tough," he said.

Little is a developmental player equipped with the drive to see him through his injury. He uses his low center of gravity to ward off defenders and isn't afraid to plow through arm tackles. His massive hands aid his reception success and he displays impressive outbursts out of breaks to create significant separation from his opponents.

With Michael Turner venturing over to the Atlanta Falcons via free-agency, the Bolts have a dire need for depth behind Ladainian Tomlinson. After injury stabbed L.T. at the end of last season, the importance of a solid bench became all the more apparent. Little could not only provide a protective tool behind L.T., but also add the competitive drive to beat out starting return specialist Darren Sproles.

While Little sits in recovery mode, the Bolts are hesitant to grab him too soon. Furnished with natural field instincts and an ability to assist the special teams unit, Little has a package that will bolster his appeal. A. J. Smith will address the team's need for depth behind L.T. and Little is hoping for the opportunity to prove his talents.

"I'll play anywhere, as long as I can get out and show what I can do. That's all I'm worried about," he said.


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