LA Chargers: The team’s track record of trading up in the first round
By Jason Reed
1986: Leslie O’Neal
- Traded 1986 first (14) and 1986 second (44) to Minnesota for the eighth overall pick, 1986 third (66)
Leslie O’Neal is one of the most overlooked players in LA Chargers’ history and it might just be because of recency bias. We ran an all-time fan-favorite bracket in March for the Chargers and O’Neal did not even make it out of the first round nor have a respectable showing in the voting.
It is a shame that he gets overlooked as O’Neal was a dominating pass rusher for his time and is one of the best pass rushers in Chargers’ history. O’Neal played for the Bolts for a decade and in that decade he made it to six Pro Bowls as well as being named to three All-Pro Second Teams.
He recorded 132.5 sacks in his career and was even the Defensive Rookie of the Year in 1986, proving to be the best immediate draft pick from this year’s class.
The Chargers still had the 13th overall pick in the draft as well and selected offensive tackle James Fitzpatrick, who was not that great. With the 14th pick the Vikings selected defensive end Gerald Robinson, who ironically ended up with the Chargers three years later.
The 44th pick was traded to the New York Giants, who selected cornerback Mark Collins, who had one All-Pro season, while the Chargers drafted Terry Unrein with the 66th pick from Minnesota. Unrein did not have a fruitful NFL career.