Marion Grice's two seasons at Arizona State were filled with touchdowns, breakaway runs and explosive plays. Now, Grice takes his playmaking abilities to the next level, as on Saturday he became the third Sun Devil selected in the 2014 NFL Draft.
Grice will call San Diego home, as the Chargers selected him in the sixth round with the 201st overall selection. Even though he is entering a crowded backfield, Grice has a chance to make an immediate impact in San Diego.
That impact is on special teams, and more specifically on kick returns. San Diego finished last season 26th in the NFL in kick returns, averaging just over 22 yards per return. In 2013, Grice averaged over 24 yards per kick return, with a long of 44 yards. If Grice is going to see the field early, it will most likely be as a returner.
It is less likely that Grice will see significant carries in his rookie season as the Chargers boast one of the deepest backfields in the league. In front of Grice on the San Diego depth chart sit Ryan Mathews, Donald Brown and Danny Woodhead. The Chargers finished last season 13th in the NFL in rushing offense, with Mathews tallying 1,255 yards on the ground.
Behind Matthews, Woodhead carried the ball 106 times last year for 429 yards. He also caught 76 passes for 605 yards and four touchdowns.
San Diego has had a history of using their running backs as weapons in the passing game more than most teams. Former Charger Darren Sproles turned his production in the passing game into a big contract in New Orleans and Woodhead stepped right into that same role last season.
As most Sun Devil fans know, one of Grice's strengths is his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield and that is where he can thrive in San Diego. Mathews has a history of injury problems and both he and Woodhead are free agents at the end of the 2014 season.
Barring injury, Grice will have to wait his time in San Diego. But the former Arizona State star fits what San Diego likes to do on offense and could be a long-term fit in the Charger backfield.
Grice also hosted a virtual press conference on Google Hangout after his selection. In the embedded video below, we skipped ahead to when he started answering questions.