In 2011 the NFL’s offseason was shortened by the lockout. The lockout lasted from March 11th 2011 to July 25th 2011.
During that time there was no free agency and no training camp. Not only that, but the players were forbidden to workout at the team’s facilities. The players weren’t even allowed to have any contact with their respective coaches and team doctors.
Although the lockout had an impact on all players, it especially affected the rookies that were selected in the 2011 draft.
The 2011 draft class had to learn on the fly. They were basically handed a playbook and told to go out there on the field and execute one’s job.
Of the 8 players selected in 2011, there are still 7 of them currently on the roster. Here’s a list of last year’s draft class.
1st Round- Pick #18 Corey Liuget DE
2nd Round- Pick#50 Marcus Gilchrist CB/S
2nd Round- Pick #61 Jonas Mouton ILB
3rd Round- Pick #82 Vincent Brown WR
3rd Round- Pick #89 Shareece Wright CB
6th Round- Pick #183 Jordan Todman RB (No longer with the team. Minnesota)
6th Round- Pick #201 Steve Schilling G/T
7th Round- Pick #234 Andrew Gachkar LB/ST
The Chargers still have the following members of the practce squad from last year as well: Colin Baxter, Bront Bird, Charlie Bryant, and Brad Taylor.
The steep learning curve that faced the rookies was quite a challenge.
Despite no training camp, Liuget started most of the season at DE.
Although slowed by a nagging hamstring injury, when Vincent Brown came into games he flashed immense potential.
Marcus Gilchrist finished the year with two interceptions. He did have a bit of a rough time at nickel CB but started to improve as the year progressed.
The second of our round 2 picks, Jonas Mouton, spent the entire season on I.R. with a shoulder injury. He did give us a little preview of how valuable he will be during the 2011 preseason.
Both Andrew Gachkar and Shareece Wright saw very little action on defense but Gachkar was a standout on special teams. Gachkar posted 15 total tackles with 11 of them being solo stops.
Steve Schilling played in 9 games while starting two of them. Schilling is a lunch pail kind of guy with a mean streak. Working with Hal Hunter will help continue his progression and make him a very solid backup lineman.
I expect a huge leap for Liuget, Gilchrist, and Wright. It’s easy to consider Mouton a rookie considering he didn’t play last year. Although I don’t believe he will have quite the impact that Butler did last year, I do see him coming in and making plays in 2012.
The sky is the limit for Vincent Brown. I have heard nothing but great things in regards to his playmaking ability, hands, and route running.
In a losing effort in the first game against Oakland, ( Even typing that made me sick to my stomach) Brown made some great plays.
Brown averaged 17.3 yards per catch while posting two touchdowns last year. He had a would-be third touchdown called back in that same Oakland matchup.
Considering the fact that he was banged up during the preseason in 2011, this offseason should really benefit #86.
I can only speak for myself but I am really excited to see what the young players are going to do in 2012. To have this kind of youthful talent, mixed in with our veterans, leads me to believe that the future is bright for the Chargers.
Let’s hope for the sake of our sanity that that future is now.
Which one of 2nd year players do think will have the biggest impact in 2012? Leave a comment stating who and why down below.
Thanks a lot for reading.