On the final day of the 2021 NFL Draft, the Los Angeles Chargers added to their offensive backfield, selecting Missouri’s Larry Roundtree III with the No. 198 overall pick. Roundtree becomes the latest Day 3 flier the Chargers have taken on a running back in recent years.
During his four seasons at Missouri, Roundtree enjoyed considerable individual success. He rushed for 3,720 yards and 40 touchdowns on 746 attempts (5.0 per carry) while adding 289 yards as a receiver. Roundtree’s finest season came in 2018 when he delivered 11 touchdowns and more than 1,200 yards on the ground, ranking seventh and fourth in the SEC, respectively.
Roundtree joins a fairly loaded backfield, a group headlined by do-everything tailback Austin Ekeler. Roundtree doesn’t need to move ahead of Ekeler on the depth chart to see regular playing time, but he would need to eclipse Justin Jackson and Joshua Kelley. That seems to happen unlikely in 2021.
The Chargers have only made one large investment in their offensive backfield: the four-year, $24.5 million deal Ekeler signed in 2020. Jackson will likely depart Los Angeles after the upcoming season and Kelley hasn’t established himself as a reliable option after Ekeler.
That leaves the door open for Roundtree sometime after the 2021 season. The Chargers have used multiple running backs together in the past and, with Ekeler capable of splitting out as a wide receiver, Roundtree could become a logical pairing as a more traditional running back.