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Don’t expect Drue Tranquill to be underrated for long

The former Irish defender made phenomenal first impression as a rookie in 2019.

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Chiefs handle own business against Chargers, get gift-win via Dolphins to claim 2-seed Tammy Ljungblad/Kansas City Star/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

It taken long for linebacker Drue Tranquill to go from day-three pick to impact player for the Chargers.

In the team’s opening week matchup with the Indianapolis Colts - and his first real game as a professional - Tranquill ran through a blocker and deflected a punt with an outstretched paw to set the Bolts up with phenomenal field position on the opponent’s side of the field.

In a lop-sided victory over the surging Green Bay Packers, Tranquill blocked his second punt and solidified his stature as the Chargers’ next great day-three find.

This all led to Tranquill being named to the All-Rookie Team by the PFWA and now has landed him on Ben Linsey’s list of underrated players over at Pro Football Focus where he goes team-by-team and selects each franchise’s player that deserves more love.

Here’s what Linsey had to say about the selection of Tranquill:

“Athleticism like Tranquill displayed at the 2019 NFL Combine (4.57 second 40-yard dash, 6.94 second three-cone and a 37.5-inch vertical jump) married with strong coverage results coming out of college (80-plus coverage grades in each of his last two seasons) is a recipe for success in the pros. As a fourth-round pick, Tranquill had a limited role in his first season as a member of the Chargers’ defense, but he did some promising things during his time on the field, earning a 66.6 overall grade for the year. Even with the Chargers trading back up into the first round to take Kenneth Murray, there is plenty of reason to expect the second-year player out of Notre Dame to take another step forward in 2020. “

The former Golden Domer started three games as a rookie but played some role in 15 total outings. Even in a part-time role, Tranquill finished second on the team with 75 total stops with four tackles-for-loss, one pass breakup, and the two aforementioned blocked punts. Looking at that stat line, it’s tough not to think of the numbers he would have amassed should he have received a full starter’s workload.

But thankfully, for those of us waiting on the Tranquill breakout season, it’s looking like a short wait. The 2020 season is setting up to be a phenomenal year for the team’s young linebackers as they’re getting the chance to play between an elite secondary and one of the most-intimidating pass-rushes in the NFL.