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2010 NFL Draft: The Chargers May Want Ryan Mathews, but Do Their Fans?

Todd KaufmannSenior Writer IApril 22, 2010

We're just a few hours from the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft and the city of Fresno will turn their attention to their television sets later today to hear just one name.

They want to know where their star running back will end up.

That running back is Ryan Mathews and most think he may end up going at pick 28 to the San Diego Chargers. Question is, do their fans want him?

I read another article this morning and a few fans don't think he's the right pick, one them even called Mathews a "terrible fit." While the reasoning I saw didn't make sense, the few comments I did see were on drafting an offensive lineman, a nose tackle to be exact. Another wanted a wide receiver at that pick.

If you're the San Diego Chargers, don't you already have the wide receiver position pretty well stocked and aren't you looking for a replacement to, arguably, the best running back this franchise has ever seen? Why would you not draft the next franchise running back at that pick?

If you do get to that pick and you don't want a running back, where do you think you're going to get one? Clemson's C.J. Spiller may already be off the board as well as Cal's Jahvid Best. Are you looking to the second round at Stanford's Toby Gerhart? Do you really think he's the right pick to be your next franchise back?

Don't get me wrong, I'm a big fan of Gerhart, I enjoyed watching him at Stanford and I think he would be a poor man's Lorenzo Neal. The same Lorenzo Neal that was the lead blocker in the backfield for LaDainian Tomlinson and one of the major reasons LT had the kind of numbers he had over the past few years.

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Notice the year that Neal wasn't brought back, LT struggled. Do you see a pattern forming there?

Another argument I've heard against Mathews is the fact that he's injury prone. Critics said that about another running back that's having great NFL success. I'm speaking, of course, about Adrian Peterson who had injury concerns when he came out of Oklahoma. Can anyone tell me how that's working out now?

How about those that say Mathews is untested because he played in the Western Athletic Conference against weak teams. While that might be somewhat true, he did rack up over 200 yards rushing against a Boise State rushing defense that was only giving up 90 yards per game and had shut down a very good Oregon team a few weeks earlier. Mathews also put up 107 yards on the road against Wisconsin, a team that was also giving up less than 100 yards per game on the ground.

So what's really the reason that you don't want Ryan Mathews? A guy that surprised a lot of scouts at the combine and ran one of the fastest 40-times of any of the running backs.

I'm gonna pull a Hacksaw Hamilton and drop the "IIIIIIII...want to heeeeaaaarrrrr from Charger fans. SHOW ME YOUR LIGHTNING BOLT!" I had a hard time getting that all out without laughing in the middle of it. If any of you have heard Jim Rome do that impression, you know why I find that funny.

So let's get into this, Charger fans. For those of you who really think that Ryan Mathews is a horrible selection at pick 28, tell me why and give me something more than "he played against weak teams," because that argument is already worn out.

If you have good, solid, facts to back that up and make me actually think, than you'll have my respect. But seriously tell me why you think this is not the right pick. And, if it's because you want another running back, tell me who and why.

Let's get a good debate going because that's what these kind of articles are for, to spark debate.

I believe Ryan Mathews is a great replacement for LT and I think he can surprise a lot of Charger fans and put any doubt, in anyone's mind, away for good. He has size, strength, speed, and can not only run the ball up the middle but can also bounce to the outside and has the speed to breakaway from anyone.

So, A.J. Smith, I hope you're as smart as some say you are and I hope that you're on the phone with Ryan Mathews after the 27th pick goes down and you welcome him to San Diego.

If you do A.J., I promise I'll buy my first ever Chargers uniform.

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