Over the past few weeks, CBS Sports has been running a series of articles aimed at ranking the top-five draft selection at each spot in the first round, starting at No. 32 and working their way up to No. 1.
On Friday, NFL writer Patrik Walker ranked the top-five players who were selected with the fifth-overall pick and a pair of Hall-of-Fame Chargers were included at No. 2 and No. 3.
First up, coming at as the third-best fifth-overall selection of all time is running back LaDainian Tomlinson.
During the 2006 NFL season, Tomlinson helped lead the Chargers to an NFL-best 14-2 record en route to also taking home league MVP honors after setting the single-season rushing and total touchdown record with 28 and 31, respectively. To this day, Tomlinson is also considered one of, if not, the best fantasy football player of all time.
Here’s what Walker had to say about LT’s ranking of third:
If you glanced ahead on this list, and I know you did, you’ll notice the Chargers aren’t too shabby at hitting the jackpot when given the No. 5 pick. Tomlinson was a bottle of greased lightning during his time in San Diego, and a key part in helping future Hall of Fame quarterback Drew Brees reach his NFL momentum. It was quite the coup for the Chargers in 2001, considering they landed Brees with the No. 2 pick and Tomlinson only three picks later — setting themselves up for an organizational turnaround that continued even after the team parted ways with Brees and ushered in Philip Rivers. With the help of the late, great Marty Schottenheimer, Tomlinson’s dual-threat nature was fully utilized and he became one of the most feared offensive players in the NFL. A three-time All-Pro, five-time Pro Bowler and former NFL MVP (2006), the Walter Payton Man of the Year winner (2006) not only saw his No. 21 retired by the Chargers in addition to landing in the team’s Hall of Fame, but has since put on a Pro Football Hall of Fame jacket as well. Tomlinson is one of the best running backs of all time: exclamation point.
LaDainian Tomlinson turns 41 today ⚡️— B/R Gridiron (@brgridiron) June 23, 2020
◾️ 2017 Hall of Fame class
◾️ 2006 NFL MVP
◾️ Record for most rushing TDs in a season (28)
◾️ 5x Pro Bowler
◾️ 3x First-team All-Pro
Imagine LT in this era of RBs
Coming in just ahead of LT at No. 2 on this list is the Tasmanian Devil, himself: the late, great Junior Seau.
Seau was drafted in 1990 out of nearby USC and played an integral part in leading the Chargers to their first and only Super Bowl appearance. He was a six-time First-Team All-Pro selection and a three-time Second-Team pick, on top of being named the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year in 1992.
Here’s what Walker had to say in regards to this Charger legend:
“Seau is most known recently for the tragedy of losing his life to suicide, having since become the most poignant example of what can happen if the NFL continued to dismiss the importance of concussion prevention. But before his posthumous contributions to the science of possibly saving others in the sport from CTE, Seau contributed on the field for his team in a way so many others wish they could. A first team All-Pac 10 talent and Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year in 1989, it was all the Chargers could do to get their hands on him with the fifth-overall pick. He went on to become one of the greatest to ever play the sport — now named to the NFL 100th Anniversary All-Time Team and the NFL 1990s All-Decade Team, along with being immortalized in the Pro Football Hall of Fame and having his No. 55 jersey retired by the Chargers. Seau set the standard for what an NFL linebacker, and human being, should be — the former Walter Payton Man of the Year (1994) grabbing six All-Pro honors and 12 (!!) Pro Bowl nods before hanging up his cleats after stays with the Dolphins and Patriots. Gone but never forgotten, Seau is a football deity.”
For those who don’t want to put in the effort to click on the article link above, the player who managed to beat out both LT and Seau as the top fifth-overall selection of all time was “Primetime” Deion Sanders. Tough to argue with that one, if we’re being honest.
Either way, let me know what you all think of these rankings and how you would change them, if at all.