Chargers Draft

LA Chargers: Ranking every linebacker taken in the first round by the Bolts

MANHATTAN, KS - OCTOBER 26: Linebacker Kenneth Murray #9 of the Oklahoma Sooners gets set on defense against the Kansas State Wildcats during the first half at Bill Snyder Family Football Stadium on October 26, 2019 in Manhattan, Kansas. (Photo by Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images)
MANHATTAN, KS - OCTOBER 26: Linebacker Kenneth Murray #9 of the Oklahoma Sooners gets set on defense against the Kansas State Wildcats during the first half at Bill Snyder Family Football Stadium on October 26, 2019 in Manhattan, Kansas. (Photo by Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images)
facebooktwitterreddit
3 of 4
(Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images) – LA Chargers
(Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images) – LA Chargers

3. Shawne Merriman

Shawne Merriman was really good in his prime and if his prime could have just lasted for several more seasons than he easily would have been number two on this list. Instead, he is an exciting inclusion at number three.

The Chargers selected Merriman with the 12th overall pick in 2005 and it is safe to say that the outside linebacker did not disappoint whatsoever for the Bolts.

Merriman instantly made an impact on the team, recording 10 sacks in his rookie season, and then followed that up with a league-best 17 sacks in his second year, netting him his only All-Pro selection.

Merriman was injured in 2008 and was never quite the same, but he still has three Pro Bowls and one All-Pro to his name.

2. Billy Ray Smith

Merriman definitely was the more dominant player in his prime but longevity wins out in this discussion as Billy Ray Smith is the second greatest first-round linebacker in team history.

Smith was selected with the fifth overall pick in 1983 and went on to play his entire 10-year career with the Chargers. He has 66 more games played than Merriman with the Chargers, and while the sack numbers are not as impressive, he was still a great backer.

Smith finished his career with 15 interceptions, 26.5 sacks and an AV of 55. He was never an All-Pro or a Pro Bowler but was an above-average linebacker for an entire decade, which is worth number two.

facebooktwitterreddit