Over the past five to six years, Chargers players have been a fixture on rankings regarding the top up-and-coming players in the NFL. Guys like Joey Bosa and Derwin James were both mainstays on such lists since being drafted into the NFL. So when it comes to a list such as the Pro Football Focus’ best players under the age of 25, it should be no surprise that the Bolts recently placed a pair of players among their rankings in second-year left tackle Rashawn Slater and third-year quarterback Justin Herbert.
Fortunately, you won’t have to scroll down all that far to find your first Charger. Herbert was just edged out by the 49ers’ Nick Bosa as the top player under 25. Checking in at number two, here’s what author Trevor Sikkema had to say about the electric passer:
“Over the past two seasons, Herbert has ascended to become one of the NFL’s best quarterbacks. He threw for over 4,000 yards in his rookie season with 31 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. This past year, he threw for over 5,000 yards with 38 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. But even more important than the stats were the moments. From his insane 67-yard touchdown to Jalen Guyton in Week 14 to his heroic “every throw is do or die” performance down the stretch against the Las Vegas Raiders in the final week of the season, Herbert has only gotten better with time. He is one of the most talented quarterbacks in the NFL, and not just for his age.”
Not much to add on to Sikkema’s thoughts above. We have all been witnesses to Herbert’s eye-popping passing performances over the past two seasons. At this point, if at least one of his throws in each game doesn’t make your jaw drop, that’s just isn’t a normal outing for the rising superstar.
As for the other up-and-coming talent on the Bolts, Slater comes in around the middle of the list at 14. That puts him as the second-best offensive lineman on the list behind only Tristan Wirfs of the Buccaneers, and that’s still incredible company seeing as Wirfs has already won a Super Bowl in his first two seasons in the league.
Like Herbert, Sikkema is also bullish on Slater and what he was able to do in just his first season as a pro.
In 2021, Slater did what very few players have been able to do throughout the course of NFL history: play left tackle as a rookie and not just survive the season, but thrive in doing so. Slater played 1,116 snaps, which was third among all rookie offensive linemen, and finished the season with an 83.6 overall grade, which was second among the same group. Slater’s 3.7% pressure rate allowed tied Jedrick Wills’ 2020 mark for the lowest rate surrendered by a rookie left tackle (min. 250 pass-blocking snaps) since 2010.
It’s extremely rare for a team to have both a young quarterback and left tackle duo that’s accomplished as much as these two have in their short time at the NFL level. When it comes to hitting the ground running, both of these players are not only moving quickly, but they might as well have a couple of rockets in their cleats.