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Grading the Chargers 2016 NFL Draft: It may still be too soon to say

NFL: Denver Broncos at Los Angeles Chargers Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Most people accept that grading an NFL Draft immediately after it occurs is unavoidable, but pretty much everyone also rightly thinks the exercise is futile in nature and frankly not worth much.

Looking back on a draft after three years, while less fair in some ways thanks to the benefit of hindsight, is significantly more useful.

The Athletic’s Dan Brugler recently decided to do just that and reviewed the haul of each team’s 2016 NFL Draft. In Brugler’s own words:

The narrative on the players from the 2016 draft class will continue to change, but three full seasons in the NFL is enough of a sample size to judge the teams that drafted well and the teams that are reeling because of poor draft choices.

And, so what did he have to say about Tom Telesco’s efforts? Without further ado:

Los Angeles Chargers

Grade: B-

1 (3) Joey Bosa, EDGE, Ohio State
2 (35) Hunter Henry, TE, Arkansas
3 (66) Max Tuerk, OC, USC (Free Agent)
4 (102) Joshua Perry, LB, Ohio State (Retired)
5 (175) Jatavis Brown, LB, Akron
6 (179) Drew Kaser, P, Texas A&M (Free Agent)
6 (198) Derek Watt, FB, Wisconsin
7 (224) Donavon Clark, OG, Michigan State (Free Agent)

Best player: Joey Bosa
When healthy and on the field, Bosa is one of the best defensive players in the league, posting 28.5 sacks over 33 career NFL starts. He is able to generate pressure in a multitude of ways and gives blockers hell from snap to finish. Injuries are the only concern keeping Bosa from being one of the best players in the league.

Best value: Hunter Henry
After combining for 12 touchdown catches over his first two seasons, Henry was on pace for a breakout third season in the NFL. However, that trajectory was sidetracked by a torn ACL that kept him from playing in 2018. After almost a full year of rehab, Henry feels “confident” about his knee and should be a strong contender for Comeback Player of the Year honors in 2019.

Biggest miss: Max Tuerk
An early third-round pick, Tuerk is one of the highest drafted players from the 2016 class who is currently not on an NFL roster. After not seeing the field as a rookie, he was popped for PEDs and suspended for four games in 2017 before being released.

It’s difficult to disagree too much with Brugler’s grade and his take on best value and biggest miss. One could potentially talk themselves into a different choice for best value since Brown and Watt cost so much less draft capital than Henry, but at the end of the day, Henry’s actual production has been so much greater that his selection is still probably correct.

In addition to his own thoughts, Brugler also solicited the opinion of The Athletic’s Chargers beat writer, Rich Hammond:

Beat writer’s take: Even going into Year 4, this class could go either way. That’s because it’s too early to say whether the first- and second-round picks, defensive end Joey Bosa and tight end Hunter Henry, have reached their full potential. Bosa appeared headed for stardom before he missed nine games last season with a foot injury, while Henry looked set to be the Chargers’ full-time tight end before he missed all of last season with a torn ACL. The rest of the class already is a bust. Of the other six players drafted in 2016, only two remain on the roster: fullback Derek Watt and backup linebacker Jatavis Brown.

Hammond’s uncertainty is fair if a little pessimistic. Bosa has already proven himself to be a superstar as one of the best pass rushers in the NFL. Brown and Watt are solid if unspectacular role players, and while Henry’s health is a question mark he has already shown that he can be and in fact is one of the best tight ends in The League. Short of a career threatening injury to one of Bosa or Henry, this class has a chance to be very strong.

What do you think of the 2016 draft class? Let us know in the comments below!


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