by Adam Fournier, Ourlads’ Intern
The San Diego Chargers have had a very average last five years with all five seasons finishing at or one game away from .500. They have gone from Super Bowl hopefuls in the latter half of the 2000s decade to a team that only has one playoff appearance in five years. One of the issues for the downslide is the lack of production from the young talent acquired in the last five drafts.
The Chargers have had some real injury issues hindering some of their draft picks, most notable being 2012 1st rounder Melvin Ingram. After appearing in every game his rookie year mostly contributing in a reserve role, Ingram has only appeared in thirteen games the last two seasons. He has started only twelve games in three years, which is certainly not what you are looking for out of a first round selection. He is expected to start at linebacker in 2015 and will hope to stay on the field. The 3rd rounder from the same draft will not get that chance as Brandon Taylor is currently out of the NFL after only two seasons. Taylor suffered a torn ACL during his rookie year and never quite recovered as he was released before the 2014 season. Jonas Mouton has a similar story as he missed the entire season due to injury in two out of his three seasons in San Diego. Mouton was a 2nd round pick in 2011 but is now out of the league appearing in only three games. The Chargers hope their 2014 1st round pick Jason Verrett does not head down the same path. Verrett had a great rookie season in his time on the field but only appeared in six games due to injury.
The Chargers did get a solid starting running back in the 1st round of the 2010 draft in Ryan Matthews. Matthews was a solid contributor as the primary running back for the Chargers the past five years with one Pro Bowl selection. To stick with the theme, Matthews had some injury issues playing only one full season in San Diego. His final season with the team was the biggest case of this as he only played in six games before departing for Philadelphia in the 2015 offseason.
The Chargers have made some good picks in the last five years like selecting Keenan Allen in the 3rd round in 2013. He has emerged as the team’s number one receiver after contributing at receiver nearly every game his first two seasons. The 1st round pick from the same year, D.J. Fluker, has also been a solid starting tackle in his two years in the league and will be starting at right tackle for the Chargers in 2015. Darrell Stuckey has been one of the better special teams players in the league in the last five years and was rewarded with a Pro Bowl selection as a special teamer in 2014. The 2011 draft duo of Corey Liuget and Marcus Gilchrist have been solid starters on defense in the past four seasons. Liuget is one of the better players on the Chargers’ defense and was rewarded with a big five-year extension in 2015. Unfortunately for the Chargers, Gilchrist departed for the Jets this offseason. There are a few other players who will be starting alongside Liuget in 2015 that still have a lot to prove. Donald Butler was the 3rd round pick in 2010 and has started 53 games in five years. However following a difficult 2014 campaign, he will be looking to bounce back this year. The 2013 draft class linebacker duo of Manti Te’o and Tourek Williams are expected to start in 2015 after starting nineteen and six games over their two years, respectively. Both players will be looking to have breakout years in 2015 as primary starters.