The Chargers’ draft haul from 2017, at the time, was seen as one of the better classes that year. It was highlighted by offensive guard Forrest Lamp who was taken at the top of the second although many draft pundits believed he was arguably the best lineman in the draft. In the fifth, the Bolts nabbed Desmond King who, at one point, garnered first-round buzz prior to the 2016 football season after winning the Jim Thorpe Award for the nation’s top defensive back the year prior.
For these reasons and more, The Athletic’s Dane Brugler ranked the Chargers’ 2017 class as the 10th-best in the NFL from that draft.
If you all need a quick refresher, here was the class:
- WR Mike Williams
- OG Forrest Lamp
- OG Dan Feeney
- S Rayshawn Jenkins
- CB Desmond King
- OT Sam Tevi
- DE Isaac Rochell
Most remember this class due to the wealth of quarterback talent that was taken following the Bolts selecting Williams with the seventh-overall pick. They saw both Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson get drafted afterwards and both have gone on to see major success in the first few seasons of their respective careers.
I’ll tell you what though, the best player from the entire 2017 haul wasn’t even drafted. Brugler named running back Austin Ekeler as the team’s best player AND best value from that offseason after he was signed as an undrafted free agent.
“McCaffrey is the best pass-catching running back, but Ekeler might be No. 2,” Brugler says. “And with Melvin Gordon holding out last season, he had the chance to show it, finishing with 92 catches for 993 receiving yards and eight touchdowns. Coming off his first 1,000-yard receiving season, Mike Williams is also a player on the rise.”
When he was originally signed, Ekeler received just a $5,000 signing bonus back then and now have one of the most dynamic players in the league at a heck of a price. As I mentioned above, King’s value also can’t be understated. It’s not often a former fifth-round pick becomes a first-team All-Pro in his first two seasons, but King did just that.
While he hasn’t been performing that close to his expectations when coming out, getting a two-time All-American in Dan Feeney in the third round looked like a heck of a pick, too.
The biggest miss according to Brugler — and this breaks my heart say — has been Lamp.
“The Chargers didn’t miss on Lamp’s talent — he has the skills to be a longtime starter. Unfortunately, injuries have kept him off the field, including a broken ankle that ended his 2019 season after only two starts.”
I hate to admit it, but this will likely be Lamp’s final year with the Chargers if he does not earn a starting position. This is going to be his fourth year with the team and that’s crazy to understand. He has two starts in three years and those only came due to Mike Pouncey’s injury. I still don’t think all the information surrounding the Lamp situation has been made public, but regardless if it does, there’s currently a very small chance they continue to keep him as a depth piece. Lamp will want his shot at starting and some other team is surely going to give it to him.