Sometimes, Size Does Matter
I have a confession. I watch A LOT of college football. In recent years, I have gotten hooked on Big 12 college football. In my watching over the last season, there was one player that I could not help but notice. It is rare at any level of football that a player even in the huddle makes everyone around him look tiny. Even more remarkably, he is not a lineman.
Six foot six.
FOUR hundred five pounds.
A recorded 5.41 second 40-yard "dash" on his pro-day.
3 career receptions; 3 career receiving TD's.
Meet LaQuan McGowan, fresh off of his December 2015 graduation from Baylor College in Waco, Texas with a degree in Health, Kinesiology, and Leisure Studies. This freak of nature, a 23-year-old giant of man, is nearly as large as one of his college's mascots. This former Baylor Bear might look as frightening to opposing defenders as a CGI Bear looked to Leonardo Di'Caprio.
His former coach, Art Briles, referred to him as "remarkable athlete" and his pro-day numbers supported Briles' assertion. 30 bench reps at 225 lbs. (Joey Bosa repped 28) A 3-cone drill time of 8.28 seconds (Bosa's was 6.89) and a 20 yard shuttle of 5.38 seconds (Bosa's was 4.21).
Originally a lineman in High School, Briles noticed something during Baylor's practices. The large young man had a decent hand. Briles, as creative a coach as there is (if you don't believe that, see what his team did to North Carolina in their most recent bowl game without a functioning QB), drew up a few gadget plays for his massive Tight End.
Why Should The Bolts Draft Him?
4 Rushing touchdowns in 2015. FOUR. 3 of those were scored by Danny Woodhead, who maybe weighs 190 pounds in a heavy jacket and soaking wet. 2 of those in Week 1. For the remaining 15 games, the Bolts had a total of TWO rushing TD's. A lot of football games are lost because of Red Zone inefficiency and I have gotten tired of seeing my favorite team try to pass for TD's with a first and goal from the 3.
McGowan could change that. Whether emulating William "The Refrigerator" Perry (who McGowan outweighs by 60 pounds), catching the ball (which he clearly can do), or acting as a lead blocker for another back, McGowan changes the team's range of options in the Red Zone from day 1.
Even acting as a 6th lineman in short yardage situations has potential. After all, he will outweigh anyone on the edge and got used to acting as a lead blocker or second level blocker in Baylor's fast moving offense. He provides the biggest distraction possible to PR's usual favorite Red Zone target (Gates) and with the size differential that he ALWAYS has, provides an inviting target all on his own if singled against a safety or LB half his size.
The current brain trust for the Bolts seems to prefer their back-ups to have "position versatility". McGowan has that. In high school and college he has played D-line, O-line, Tight End, H-Back, and Fullback.
Yes, he was a spot player in college. No, he will not replace any lineman or Tight End on the roster. That does not change the fact that this is a player that 11 guys on a defense, about to line up on a first and goal at the 4 will see lumbering into the Chargers offensive huddle and collectively think "Oh holy s---t". I want that on my favorite team.
And another consideration that the entire team needs to keep in mind for the 2016 season. This team needs to create as much buzz and excitement as it can before November 6. The Chargers need to remind every registered voter in San Diego that football is FUN. Few things are more fun than a 400 pound man dancing after he scores a TD for the home team. McGowan will create some buzz the first time he hits the field. He will not be just another uniform number if he can make the team.
C'mon Tom! If he is still there at the top of the 7th round, you could do a lot worse than spend the224th pick of the draft on the biggest pick you EVER make.