3 Chargers who are already turning heads at OTAs

These Chargers players are making the most of OTAs.
Los Angeles Chargers receiver Ladd McConkey (15) during organized team activities at the Hoag Performance Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Los Angeles Chargers receiver Ladd McConkey (15) during organized team activities at the Hoag Performance Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The LA Chargers will have the benefit of playing a last-place schedule in Jim Harbaugh's first season as head coach. In other words, making the playoffs shouldn't be a pipe dream. That will be easier said than done in the loaded AFC, but the Chargers should be more buttoned up and play up to their potential under Harbaugh's watch relative to the previous regime.

Let's not get ahead of ourselves, though. Training camp is still two months away. Rookie minicamp just wrapped up and OTAs are underway in Los Angeles. With a new head coach and coordinators on both sides of the ball, this is a crucial time for players to learn new systems and concepts.

There's a lot of work that needs to be done between now and September. In the meantime, some Chargers players are making the most of their opportunities at OTAs.

3 Chargers players who are already turning heads at OTAs

3. LB Junior Colson

The Chargers had no choice but to release Erick Kendricks and they were never going to compete with Kenneth Murray's market. Drafting a linebacker felt inevitable and Harbaugh made the genius decision to reunite with Junior Colson, who was a catalyst during Michigan's championship run in 2023.

Colson might be a rookie, but he looks the part of a multi-year pro. Per reporters on the scene at OTAs, Colson has taken command by calling most of the linebacker plays. The former Wolverine has even taken it upon himself to correct his teammates and he answered so many questions in LB meetings that coaches told him to give someone else the stage.

Colson's mindset and IQ should lead to a long, successful career. He unfortunately walked off the most recent practice with an undisclosed injury. Even if he's sidelined until training camp, it's clear the Chargers got a gem in the young linebacker.

2. WR Ladd McConkey

Chargers fans did not love that the team passed on Malik Nabers and Rome Odunze with the fifth overall pick in favor of Joe Alt. Justin Herbert's receiving corps is one of the worst in the NFL, but he seemingly already has a favorite target in 2024 second-round selection Ladd McConkey.

Per Daniel Popper of The Athletic, Ladd McConkey played out wide and in the slot. The Georgia product made a big gain on the second play from team drills. He later hauled in consecutive passes from Herbert and had a big third-down conversion working against third-year pro Ja'Sir Taylor in the slot.

It's early, but it looks as though Herbert is going to love McConkey's quickness and ability to beat press coverage to haul in quick-release throws.

1. CB Asante Samuel Jr.

Asante Samuel Jr. is entering the final year of his rookie contract. The former second-round pick looks like he's fully aware of his looming free agency next March.

Samuel was targeted on the first play of team drills on Monday and nearly came away with an interception. Targeted again on the second play from scrimmage, the young ball-hawk picked off the pass to give him a pass breakup and an interception right off the bat.

Later in the practice, Samuel dislodged another pass along the sideline and nearly picked off another pass. The 24-year-old has an unteachable nose for the ball and he seems primed to pick up right where he left off last season.

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