In case you haven’t noticed, we’ve been going back over the 2008, 2009, and 2010 draft class of each franchise and assigning each pick a grade. Up next? Well, that’s the San Diego Chargers.
Each pick between the 2008 and 2010 draft classes has earned a grade between +2.0 and -2.0 (in 0.5 increments) that depends upon:
• Where they were drafted
• Their performance
• Their contribution (how many snaps their team got out of them)
• Other factors, such as unforeseen injuries and conditions that could not have been accounted for
Let’s take a look at how the Chargers drafted.
+2.0: You’ve just found Tom Brady in the 6th round
With Philip Rivers already on the roster they didn’t need to.
+1.5: Getting much more than you bargained for!
+1.0: The scouts nailed it!
Louis Vasquez, G (78th overall pick in 2009): The only member of the Chargers’ 2012 offensive line to head into and leave the year with any credit, Vasquez was our ninth-ranked right guard on the year. His +29.4 grade over four years is further indication that, even though he’s just left the team, he was excellent value for his third-round spot.
+0.5: Never hurts to find a solid contributor
Tyronne Greene, G (133rd overall pick in 2009): The Chargers may have found themselves a solid starting guard in the shape of Greene. After struggling initially, this former fourth-rounder held his own at guard last year. You’re not completely comfortable with him starting, but there are plenty of worse players out there.
Donald Butler, LB (79th overall pick in 2010): After missing his rookie year, Butler was on a mission to make up for lost time as a sophomore. Has yet to prove himself a top-end linebacker, but has already shown a talent coming forward, even if he concerns you in coverage. Should be a part of this defense for a long time.
Cam Thomas, NT (146th overall pick in 2010): The long-term answer to the question of who replaces Jamal Williams? Thomas is a different type of player and can line up anywhere on the defensive line, and often with impressive results. It’s only his inconsistent play that sees him not worth a higher grade.
0.0: It could have been worse
Antoine Cason, CB (27th overall pick in 2008): After finally starting to realize his potential in 2010, 2011 was something of a step back. Wasn’t much better a year later and was allowed to hit the open market, with the Chargers moving on from their former first-rounder who failed to live up to the hype.
DeJuan Tribble, CB (192nd overall pick in 2008): The former sixth-round pick stuck about with the Chargers for the best part of a year before eventually being cut.
Corey Clark, T (234th overall pick in 2008): Failed to make much of a contribution and was cut for good 20 months after being drafted.
Vaughn Martin, DE (113th overall pick in 2009): The frustrating thing about Martin is that he can look pretty handy, but those plays of promise are often washed out by spells of nothingness where he is moved about at will by offensive linemen. Earned a -12.8 grade last year and is no longer with the team.
Brandon Hughes, CB (148th overall pick in 2009): The former fifth-round pick never got a chance to really establish himself with San Diego after a severe knee injury robbed him of his rookie year before being cut before the start of the 2010 season.
Kevin Ellison, S (189th overall pick in 2009): In 415 snaps as a rookie Ellison showed plenty of promise as an in-the-box safety. Unfortunately, problems with a drug-related arrest made him a headache the Chargers didn’t want to deal with.
Demetrius Byrd, WR (224th overall pick in 2009): San Diego took a chance on an injured Byrd after the once promising prospect suffered serious injuries in a car accident. They kept him around for a year before deciding to move on.
Darrell Stuckey, S (110th overall pick in 2010): Found playing time hard to come by on defense, but was a special teams star as he led the team with 10 tackles. That makes him valuable, but you probably like for a fourth-rounder to find his way onto defense at some point.
-0.5: That pick was not put to good use
Jacob Hester, FB (69th overall pick in 2008): If you’re going to spend a relatively high pick on a fullback they simply need to be a better lead blocker than Hester. Just not a player who is particularly good at anything, but versatile enough to be bad at a number of things.
Marcus Thomas, RB (166th overall pick in 2008): Claimed off waivers after his rookie preseason by the Lions, Thomas was way down the depth chart and an afterthought to the Chargers.
Gartrell Johnson, RB (134th overall pick in 2009): It’s never good when a fourth-round pick is waived as a rookie.
Ryan Mathews, RB (12th overall pick in 2010): Nobody is denying Mathews is a talented back, but when you fumble the ball as often as him and lose the trust of your coaching staff something is seriously wrong. Not produced relative to what he cost.
Jonathan Crompton, QB (168th overall pick in 2010): A waste of a pick, the Chargers stashed him on their practice squad for three days before releasing him and never looking back.
Dedrick Epps, TE (235th overall pick in 2010): Waived after less than five months with the club, he wasn’t even deemed worth a practice squad spot.
-1.0: What a waste!
Not here but…
-1.5: The scouts/ coaches failed, big time!
Larry English, OLB (16th overall pick in 2009): One of the bigger busts in the Chargers’ recent draft history, English was meant to be a threat off the edge. Instead he’s struggled to get on the field and failed to produce when he has been. A true waste of a pick, it’s telling how far he fell on the depth chart. Hard to see him lasting much longer.
-2.0: You just drafted the love child of Jamarcus Russell and Ryan Leaf!
No Russell/ Leaf hybrids in these drafts.
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