Half of the battle in the NFL Draft is drafting someone who will make an impact on the team and not be regarded as one (of many) busts throughout NFL history. The other half of the battle is keeping that player around long enough to become a staple of the franchise, which does not always happen.
The Los Angeles Chargers have made some great selections since the turn of the century. LaDainian Tomlinson, Eric Weddle, Keenan Allen (so far) and so many others were drafted by the Chargers and played their primes with the team.
However, the Chargers have also made some recent selections that had a great career with the best part of those careers coming away from the team that drafted them. For simplicity sake, ‘recent’ refers to any draft post-2000.
Here are four examples of players drafted by the LA Chargers that carved out a nice career elsewhere:
Oh, and to be clear, we are not including Eli Manning on this list, as even though the Chargers drafted him, they still got their franchise quarterback in Philip Rivers.
4. Louis Vasquez
Louis Vasquez is different from anyone else on this list as he did not carve out a super lengthy career outside of the Chargers. However, he did have the best year of his career, which was so remarkable and so unlike the rest of his career.
After four years of being a solid, serviceable right guard on the Los Angeles Chargers, the 2009 third-round pick signed with the Denver Broncos, where he eventually went on to win a Super Bowl in his last season.
It was his first season in Denver that was so compelling, however. Vasquez went from a slightly-above-average right guard to a bonafide star for one year, being named to the Pro Bowl and an All-Pro for his efforts.
Vasquez led the entire NFL in Pro Football Reference’s approximate value that season with 20. Since 2000, there have been 49 seasons with at least a 20 approximate value, Louis Vasquez has one of them.