EAST LANSING, MI: Edwin Baker #4 of the Michigan State Spartans runs with the ball during an NCAA football game against the Youngstown State Penguins at Spartan Stadium. Ha. I forgot Youngstown State was the Penguins. That's awesome. (Photo by Dave Reginek/Getty Images)
Following a draft that, unlike previous years, received rave reviews from the so-called draft experts, many Chargers fans are excited about the incoming rookies. There's nothing wrong with being optimistic about your favorite team, but I think some people are in need of a reminder of what's reasonable to expect out of rookies (especially day three picks).
Round 4, Pick 110, LaDarius Green, Louisiana-Lafayette
I'll start by granting you that Green has a ton of upside. He's a physical freak as a 6'6", 238 lbs tight end that ran about a 4.5 40 yard dash. He has good hands and will represent a matchup nightmare eventually.
The reality is that Green is a very raw player. As a tight end, he doesn't have great strength and is going to struggle getting off the line against NFL defenders. He basically needs to learn how to block and that's going to limit how much he can be on the field in Norv Turner's offense. He's an Antonio Gates type of tight end and the Chargers already have the real deal in Gates. Randy McMichael is going to see way more snaps than those drooling over Green want to imagine. There are only so many looks to go around and Green is going to have to get in line behind Gates, Malcom Floyd, Robert Meachem, Vincent Brown, Ryan Mathews and maybe even Le'Ron McClain and Eddie Royal.
Round 5, Pick 149, Johnnie Troutman, Penn State
Okay, maybe most people aren't overly thrilled about Troutman, but he will potentially come back from his injury next year to compete for a spot on the interior of the offensive line.
The reality is that Troutman is already out for 2012 and there's no guarantee he'll come back strong from injury to legitimately provide starting competition or even depth along the line. This is the nature of a fifth round pick and people that are crying about this pick being a waste need to take a minute to understand that.
Round 7, Pick 227, David Molk, Michigan
There have been Chargers fans that claim Molk had Day 2 talent and are already imagining Molk taking over from Nick Hardwick in a couple years. The first part is being overly generous, but he probably was taken with the hopes that he'll one day compete for a starting job.
The reality is that Molk is a 7th round draft pick for a reason. He has serious question marks and isn't even guaranteed to beat out Colin Baxter for the back up center role this season. He's coming in to compete for a spot as depth and he may or may not be able to win that competition. He isn't particularly big for a lineman, even a center, and he will need to get stronger and better at holding his blocks if he's going to succeed in the NFL, which he probably won't. The odds are against him.
Round 7, Pick 250, Edwin Baker, Michigan State
Edwin Baker is so good. It's amazing that he was still there. He's going to be the back up to Ryan Mathews and potentially even cut into his touches.
The reality is no. Edwin Baker probably isn't making this team and if he does he probably won't be active on game days unless people get hurt. He was a 7th round pick for a reason and his odds of making the team aren't a whole lot better than those of guys that have been signed as undrafted free agents. That might seem unfair or overly pessimistic, but Baker's not an exceptional athlete. He slid down the depth chart in college. He might become a valuable pro, but you're insane if you're expecting it.