LA Chargers News

LA Chargers: Ranking the 2021 rookies by projected first-year impact

TALLAHASSEE, FL - OCTOBER 17: Cornerback Asante Samuel, Jr. #26 of the Florida State Seminoles during the game against the North Carolina Tar Heels at Doak Campbell Stadium on Bobby Bowden Field on October 17, 2020 in Tallahassee, Florida. The Seminoles defeated the Tar Heels 31 to 28. (Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images)
TALLAHASSEE, FL - OCTOBER 17: Cornerback Asante Samuel, Jr. #26 of the Florida State Seminoles during the game against the North Carolina Tar Heels at Doak Campbell Stadium on Bobby Bowden Field on October 17, 2020 in Tallahassee, Florida. The Seminoles defeated the Tar Heels 31 to 28. (Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images)
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(Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images) – LA Chargers
(Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images) – LA Chargers

2. Asante Samuel Jr.

I thought about toying with the order and making Asante Samuel Jr. the most impactful rookie in 2021 but I decided against it and I will explain why on the next page. Just know that Samuel and Rashawn Slater are going to be really close in terms of impact in 2021.

Samuel was every fan’s dream selection in the second round and he managed to somehow fall to the Chargers, where the pick was a no-brainer. Not only was Samuel the best corner remaining and it was not even close, he fits the Chargers’ scheme perfectly as a versatile man corner who is going to play on the outside.

He is a bit small but that should not be a pressing issue with who else the Chargers have on defense. Michael Davis has great size and elite speed and is a truly special athlete, making Samuel’s life easier.

Like any rookie corner, he is not going to be perfect in year one but this is the start of a truly special secondary, especially if it can stay healthy. Davis has all the physical tools and has gotten better every year, Samuel has legitimate potential and the team can draft a high slot corner in next year’s draft to replace Chris Harris.

That could become the new secondary that helps lead the Chargers to the playoffs and in a year or two Samuel might very well be the CB1. For now, he is the CB2 and the second-most impactful rookie.

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