3. Vincent Jackson, 2005
The Los Angeles Chargers’ best pass-catchers in recent history have not come high in the draft. Keenan Allen was a third-round pick, Antonio Gates was an undrafted free agent, Malcolm Floyd was an undrafted free agent, even Austin Ekeler was an undrafted free agent.
The one exception has been Vincent Jackson, although he still was not taken that high in the NFL Draft. The Chargers selected Jackson with the 61st overall pick in the 2005 NFL Draft, making him the 11th wide receiver in that draft.
The only receiver taken ahead of him that had more Pro Bowl appearances than Jackson was Roddy White.
At his best, Jackson was one of, if not the, best deep-ball receivers in the entire league. His 6’5″ frame, long arms and excellent route-running led to Jackson averaging 16.8 yards per reception throughout his career. In many ways, Jackson was today’s version of Mike Evans, an elite receiver that often gets overlooked.
Jackson could have carved out a better career with the Chargers if he had re-signed with them after the 2011 season but he took a massive contract from, ironically, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
It ended up being the best move for the Chargers, though, as Jackson went on to have one more Pro Bowl season in Tampa Bay before eventually falling off production-wise. Three years into his contract and he only posted 543 receiving yards.