Norv Turner: Ryan Mathews will get 250 carries, 40 catches

The San Diego Chargers traded up to select Fresno State running back Ryan Mathews, and coach Norv Turner says the team expects to get plenty of productivity from Mathews in his rookie year.

“I would expect Ryan to have 250 carries and 40 catches, something like that,” Turner told. Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Turner suggested that Mathews would fill the role vacated by LaDainian Tomlinson, who had 223 carries and 20 catches in 2009. According to Turner, Darren Sproles is expected to do about what he did last year, when he had 93 carries and 45 catches.

“That’s obviously saying Darren is going to have the same role he’s had,” Turner said.

The Chargers have a lot of money devoted to Sproles in 2010 — more money than a third-down back would typically make — but Turner says he’s committed to the idea of Mathews as the primary ball carrier and Sproles making a contribution on third downs.

“The third-down protections, all the things teams do to you now — that’s where young guys have a hard time,” Turner said. “Darren did such a great job with all that last year and he’ll continue to get better at that.”