San Diego Chargers Draft Successes - #5 Marcus McNeill

I said I was going to try and do one of these in one day, then ended up doing one in about 4 days. It's because none of you wished me good luck. My punishment is that I lost the half-post I wrote about Marcus McNeill before lockout news starting flying in. So, let's start over.

Marcus McNeill, after holding out for a few weeks this last year over a contract dispute, came back and signed a deal to be one of the league's top paid Offensive Tackles. He then quietly served his team suspension, rounded back into shape after 1 bad game, and went back to keeping Philip Rivers upright and raising money for charity.

There may be no pick that summarizes A.J. Smith's job as the San Diego Chargers GM better than Marcus McNeill.

As the 50th overall pick in the 2006 NFL Draft, and playing a position that usually gets overrated in the draft, you had to think that McNeill was at least going to get off to a slow start. You'd be wrong.

In his first season, Marcus started all 16 games at LT and was arguably the best blocker for a 14-2 team and a RB (LaDainian Tomlinson) that broke the record for most rushing TDs in a season. He did much of his blocking with two broken hands. McNeill, obviously, made the Pro Bowl that season.

His second season was more of the same. Plenty of good blocking for a playoff team, and another appearance on the AFC Pro Bowl roster. In 2008, McNeill hit a bit of a speedbump after undergoing neck surgery. He missed two games in that season (the only games he's missed due to injury) and at times looked hindered by the neck. He was still a very good LT, but no longer a Pro Bowler.

Although he hasn't made the Pro Bowl since 2007, McNeill has improved each season since 2008. True to their word, the Chargers saw McNeill as an irreplaceable talent at Left Tackle and offered him the contract he wanted as soon as he ended his holdout. Marcus McNeill is signed with the Chargers through 2015, or until he's 33 years old.

Excellent value for a late 2nd round pick, wouldn't you say?


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