Whenever new players are added into the fold of a team, some players’ jobs become harder while others can expect a smoother future. With the additions of quarterback Justin Herbert and linebacker Kenneth Murray, there are going to be more than a handful of players who will likely see their expectations diverge into a different direction than what was expected prior to Thursday night.
With that in mind, here are the players who say their stocks rise or fall following the first round of the NFL Draft.
Up until the Chargers pulled the trigger on Hebert, Tyrod Taylor was penciled in as the starter going into 2020. Taylor is widely-known for his conservative play and it was easy to see Williams’ deep-ball prowess take a hit moving forward. While Herbert wasn’t known for consistently chucking it deep, the former Duck still took his deep shots when they were there and that’s good news for the team’s jump-ball specialist.
During the three seasons that Taylor started for the Buffalo Bills, he averaged 7.4 average air yards per attempt. In his four years at Oregon, Herbert averaged 8.8. Williams was expected to regress regardless of who was stepping in for Philip Rivers, but the addition of Herbert may mean a less severe regression in comparison.
The Offensive Line
Whoever ends up starting along the front five, they’ll likely enjoy the fact that the quarterback they are protecting isn’t a statue. The added mobility Herbert brings to the position means that, no matter if it’s Tyrod or him, the linemen know they don’t have to be perfect every single time they pass protect.
Herbert didn’t run often on designed runs, but he found his stride in the postseason by leading the Ducks to a Rose Bowl victory with three rushing scores. The new offense in 2020 will be much more OL-friendly as OC Shane Steichen will have the ability to move the pocket and design plays around his new QBs intangibles.
LB Denzel Perryman
The Chargers just traded both their day two picks to get back into the first and select the best linebacker left on the board. That means bad things for the guy who has barely managed to hold on to his job over the last few seasons. Also, the writing has been on the wall for awhile. The Chargers were not able to survive with undersized linebackers with the 5’11 Perryman and former Bolt Jatavis Brown. They’ve since drafted a handful of uber-athletic linebackers in Kenneth Murray, Drue Tranquill, and Kyzir White. All three stand at 6’2. Add in Nick Vigil and that puts all the top linebackers over that height threshold.
The Chargers didn’t invest that much in Murray to watch him sit for the majority of the year. While he likely doesn’t start right away, this is surely Perryman’s last year with the Chargers.
Of course Taylor has to be included on this list. After Anthony Lynn and Tom Telesco spent the entire offseason being supremely “bullish” on the veteran, they went and grabbed the real quarterback of the future. If I was Tyrod, I’d have started seeing flashes from his time in Cleveland when he inevitably lost his job to Baker Mayfield before the season was halfway over.
At this point, I do personally believe Tyrod is the better quarterback in this moment but the pressure has certainly been raised and his leash just got indefinitely shorter. If he doesn’t start 2020 on some form of a win-streak, I’d expect Herbert to take the reins sooner rather than later.