Mathews was expected to come in and immediately transform San Diego's running game as a rookie. That didn't happen. However, entering his third year, the Fresno State product seems to have finally hit his stride and he could give the Chargers the boost they need on the ground.
While splitting carries with the now-departed Mike Tolbert in 2011, Mathews rushed for 1,091 yards and six touchdowns on just 222 carries. That was good enough for an average of 4.9 yards per carry. He also caught 50 passes for 455 yards.
With Tolbert gone and now that he has former Pro Bowl fullback Le'Ron McClain blocking for him, Mathews should finally get the work of a true No. 1 back.
It's not hard to imagine him leading the NFL in yards from scrimmage in 2012, as the Chargers will want to take pressure off quarterback Philip Rivers after a tough 2011 season.
Mathews is certainly someone to target early.