The greatest draft ever belongs to the LA Chargers.
The most exciting thing about the LA Chargers here in June is the rookies that the team selected in the 2020 NFL Draft and projecting how they will impact and contribute to the team not only in their rookie seasons but beyond.
The number one thing to do is grade every draft performance despite the rookies not even taking the field in the NFL yet (don’t worry, we are guilty, too). It takes years to really appreciate whether or not a team had a great showing at the NFL Draft.
Take 2012 for example. That draft had no players that instantly had a big impact and looked like it was going to be a bust, but then first-round pick Melvin Ingram found his groove in the NFL and became one of the best pass-rushers in the league.
We won’t know how good the 2020 NFL Draft was for the LA Chargers for another 2-3 years, bare minimum. What we do know is that is probably won’t be the best draft in franchise history, as the Chargers can lay claim to having the best draft in all of NFL history.
The LA Chargers’ 2001 Draft is the greatest in NFL history.
No draft in the history of the league stands up to what the Chargers did in the 2001 NFL Draft and it is a great thing that the team had such a great showing considering they had the worst draft in franchise history just three years earlier with Ryan Leaf.
The Chargers had the number one overall pick in the 2001 NFL Draft after going 1-15 the year prior. It seemed like the draft was not going to go the Chargers’ way as they could not come to a contract agreement with number one prospect, Michael Vick, and were forced to trade the selection away.
As a result, the Chargers traded down to the fifth overall pick and got a third-round pick that year, a second-round pick the following year and Tim Dwight.
With the fifth overall pick, the team selected arguably the greatest player in franchise history who had one of the greatest seasons in NFL history just five years later, running back LaDainian Tomlinson.
It did not stop there, though, as with the first pick in the second round, the Chargers selected Purdue’s Drew Brees. Brees did cement his legacy with the New Orleans Saints, which is probably the main reason why the Bolts never won a Super Bowl despite this draft showing, but the back-to-back selections of LT and Brees are the greatest ever.
The Chargers drafted a top-five running back and a top-five quarterback of all-time in back-to-back picks. That is completely unheard of!
In the history of the league, there are 60 quarterbacks and running backs who registered at least 120 Approximate Value on Pro-Football-Reference. The Chargers drafted two of those players in back-to-back picks in 2001.
The rest of the draft was mediocre and the LA Chargers did not really make the extra picks from Atlanta worth it. However, because of the back-to-back selections of Tomlinson and Brees, this is the greatest draft in NFL history.