1. Don Woods, 1974
Don Woods has the best rookie season in LA Chargers’ history and ironically he does not have a Pro Bowl nor All-Pro appearance to show for it. In fact, Woods did not make a single Pro Bowl or All-Pro team throughout his entire career, but he does have something that nobody else on this list has — he was the Offensive Rookie of the Year.
Woods is the only player in franchise history to win the Offensive Rookie of the Year award and joins three defensive players — Joey Bosa, Shawne Merriman and Leslie O’Neal — to win the Rookie of the Year award.
Bosa, Merriman and O’Neal are all honorable mentions. They all narrowly missed the list with impressive rookie seasons.
What is incredible about Woods’ rookie season is just how good he was in a smaller sample size. Woods played 12 games in his rookie season and carried the ball 229 times for 1,162 yards and seven touchdowns.
It did not stop there, though. Woods also had 26 receptions for 349 yards and three more touchdowns. Woods became just the second rookie in NFL history to record 1,500 yards from scrimmage and 10 total touchdowns and he did it in only 12 games.
If Woods would have played a full 16-game season (the 1974 season was a 14-game season, but this is for comparison’s sake) then he would have finished with 1,549 rushing yards and 429 receiving yards — or 1,928 yards from scrimmage.
That would have been fourth all-time for a rookie behind Eric Dickerson, Edgerrin James, Saquon Barkley and Ezekiel Elliot.
For that reason, and because he is the only player to win the Offensive Rookie of the Year, he has the best rookie season in team history.