Until they aged out of the group, young stars like Derwin James, Joey Bosa, and Justin Herbert were always amongst the top young players in the NFL. For those who clicked the link already and were confused to not see Herbert, he officially aged out of the category a little over two months ago.
As of now, the only player from the Chargers to be on the list is offensive tackle Rashawn Slater who turned 24 back in March. Should the list come out at the same time next year, it could be the first time in awhile the Bolts don’t have a player on the list since the 2019 offseason.
Despite missing the majority of the 2022 campaign with a torn bicep, Slater still managed to retain a spot in the top 10 with a ranking of eighth. The only players to rank higher than him are (in ascending order): Cornerback Patrick Surtain II, center Creed Humphrey, cornerback Sauce Gardner, wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase, offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs, wide receiver Justin Jefferson, and edge rusher Micah Parsons.
Here’s what author Trevor Sikkema had to say about Slater’s ranking:
“Had Slater been healthy for a full season in 2022, he likely would’ve been even higher on this list. He finished his rookie year with an 83.6 overall grade on more than 1,000 snaps played. And he earned an 84.0 overall grade in 2022 before rupturing his bicep in Week 3. A healthy Slater should be right back at the top of blocking grades in 2023.”
I obviously agree with Sikkema that Slater’s lack of a full season in 2022 would have certainly helped his ranking, but just how high do you think he could have risen? One spot? Maybe two? Humphrey has been one of the best centers in all of football and Gardner is the reigning Defensive Player of the Year. My guess is he would have hopped Surtain for seventh, but that may have been about it.
At any rate, let me know what you all think of Slater’s ranking here and go ahead and tell me how high you believe he could have be ranked if he had played an entire 2022 season.