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Chargers Week 1 Rookie Report: Horvath lives fullback dream in NFL debut

First-round rookie Zion Johnson also played a mistake-free game against Las Vegas.

NFL: Los Angeles Rams at Los Angeles Chargers Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The 2022 draft class was not asked to play a huge role in the Chargers’ 24-19, but that doesn’t mean a first-year Bolt didn’t leave their mark on the team’s first victory of the 2022 season.

Just like last week, I touch on each rookie’s performance — or lack thereof — and decide whether or not they deserve to see their stock rise or fall following the most recent contest.

Let’s get into it.

OG Zion Johnson

Johnson was solid in his NFL debut against a Raiders front line that did their best to limit any semblance of a run game for the Chargers. Even so, Joe Lombardi was so confident in Johnson’s ability that he chose to try and close out the game by running the up the right side behind the first-round rookie. No matter how it looked, the end result was the one they wanted. Johnson’s debut may not have been as stellar as Rashawn Slater’s was a year ago, but it was still plenty impressive.

Stock direction entering week one: Up.

S JT Woods

Woods did not see the field in week one against the Raiders. It looks like the rookie’s lackluster tackling throughout the preseason will force him to truly earn his way onto the field in year one.

Stock direction entering week one: Down

RB Isaiah Spiller

Spiller was inactive against the Raiders in favor of Josh Kelley and veteran Sony Michel. Kelley was the team’s most efficient rusher (21 yards, 5.3 YPC) while Michel averaged less than two yards per carry in his Chargers debut. On a short week, I highly doubt much changes in the way of the pecking order at the running back position. It’s likely Michel is inactive again in week two to give him more time to heal up to 100 percent before seeing the field.

Stock direction entering week one: Same

DL Otito Ogbonnia

Ogbonnia played just nine snaps on Sunday which was the fewest of any defensive player against the Raiders. He finished with just a single tackle and avoided being one the wrong end of a bad play. That’s all you can ask for from a fifth-round rookie playing a rotational role.

Stock direction entering week one: Same

OL Jamaree Salyer

Salyer did not see the field in week one. Storm Norton was the only non-starting offensive lineman to see the field against the Raiders.

Stock direction entering week one: Same

CB Ja’Sir Taylor

With J.C. Jackson out, the Chargers activated Kemon Hall off the practice squad for Sunday’s game to add an extra body at a position that needed it. However, Hall ended up on the inactive list, meaning that Taylor and fellow rookie Deane Leonard were the team’s only backups behind their top three of Michael Davis, Asante Samuel Jr., and Bryce Callahan.

Fortunately for the Chargers, that’s all they needed. Taylor was not asked to play any snaps on defense.

Stock direction entering week one: Same

CB Deane Leonard

Similar to Taylor above, Leonard was not asked to play any defensive snaps against the Raiders.

Stock direction entering week one: Same

FB Zander Horvath

Horvath had himself quite the game for a rookie fullback. Early on the team’s first offensive drive, the former Boilermaker took a short handoff to convert on third down. Later on in the second quarter, Horvath scored the Chargers’ first touchdown of the season off a play-action pass to the left flat.

Overall he played 15 total snaps which is more than Gabe Nabers played in any game a season ago. his final stat line included two receptions for six yards, one score, and a lone carry for two yards.

Stock direction entering week one: Up