BATON ROUGE, LA: Brandon Taylor #18 of the Louisiana State University Tigers has a good chance to contribute on special teams and maybe even start. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Much like we discussed last time, while reviewing the Chargers' day 3 picks, optimism isn't necessarily a bad thing and in some cases it is definitely warranted. However, it's important that fans take a step back from the best case scenario and embrace the likelihood of lesser outcomes. That doesn't necessarily mean that these players will be bad or even average players, but it's almost certainly for the best if you don't expect every draft pick to be a day 1 starter and All Pro because then you're going to be disappointed when that player has a pretty good season as part of a rotation. Don't do that to yourself.
Round 3, Pick 73, Brandon Taylor, LSU
Out of all the Chargers' draft picks, perhaps none of the projections are more unrealistic than the ones made of Taylor. The transition from safety in college to safety in the NFL is one of the more difficult ones. Also, Taylor was the fourth safety drafted out of what was widely considered to be a weak safety class. This isn't to say that Taylor won't be able to unseat Atari Bigby as the starter. He very well could. However, he could also end up playing special teams and getting only limited snaps on defense.
By most accounts, Taylor is a good player that could blossom into a leader. However, I can't stress enough how difficult the transition to the NFL is for a safety. For example, Eric Weddle is an All Pro, but he finished his rookie season with a negative grade from Pro Football Focus. There will be an adjustment period for Taylor and you shouldn't write him off because of it. Even if he's going to end up being as good as many fans are hoping (and unfortunately expecting) there's a pretty solid chance he won't be half that good this year. Honestly, if he's able to beat out Bigby to become the starter that should be considered a successful rookie campaign.
Round 2, Pick 49, Kendall Reyes, Connecticut
Kendall Reyes is a solid if unspectacular football player. He's transitioning from a 3 technique to a 5 technique (in the base defense at least) and will be part of a healthy rotation at defensive end. People are high on him because he was projected to go earlier by many of the draft experts than he did. He has a very good chance to be a successful player at this level, but he's probably never going to be a star or "impact player." There's almost zero chance whatsoever that he'll be one in his rookie year. Corey Liuget was a more highly rated prospect than Reyes is and he was almost a complete non-factor in his first season. Granted, part of that is due to how he was used (overused with his weaknesses magnified), but generally guys don't make a smooth transition from 4-3 DT to 3-4 DE.
Don't give up, though, Charger fans. Both day 2 picks have a very good opportunity to contribute this year. In fact, it's likely that they'll contribute, but you should be surprised if they both end up starting or if either of them is an "impact player."