Chargers Draft

Lost in the Draft: The 5 biggest NFL Draft busts by the Chargers since 2000

A tackling monster for Michigan, Jonas Mouton (57) was never able to stay healthy after being selected in the second round of the 2011 NFL Draft.
A tackling monster for Michigan, Jonas Mouton (57) was never able to stay healthy after being selected in the second round of the 2011 NFL Draft. / Hannah Foslien/GettyImages
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Since the dawn of the new millennium, the Chargers have had a solid track record when it comes to the NFL Draft. At the start of the new century, fresh off the Ryan Leaf debacle, they managed to draft not one, but two future first-ballot Hall of Famers in the 2001 NFL Draft – running back LaDainian Tomlinson and quarterback Drew Brees.

Since then, the Bolts have made some other amazing picks like Shawne Merriman, Justin Herbert, Derwin James, Joey Bosa and Rashawn Slater. However, like any franchise, there have been some big misses in the sometimes crapshoot that is the NFL Draft. 

So, in typical off-season fashion, let’s revisit some blunders and see what kind of lessons, if any, the Bolts can take with them going into the 2022 edition of the draft. 

Chargers' no. 5 Draft Bust: Larry English, linebacker (2009, first round)

After scoring one of the highest totals ever for his position on the Wonderlic Test (34 for an outside linebacker) at the 2009 NFL Draft Combine, English seemed to be an ideal player to insert into the Chargers' defensive lineup. The two-time MAC Most Valuable Player (2007 and 2008) and 2008 MAC Defensive Player of the Year, he was an outstanding defensive captain for the Northern Illinois Huskies.

A chiseled specimen, English was an imposing threat for the Huskies at defensive end. Selected as the 16th overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft, English was slated to join a stacked roster on a team that would wind up going 13-3. 

Though he primarily played defensive end in college, the Chargers opted to move English to outside linebacker. After a decent rookie campaign where he appeared in all 16 games, injuries and inconsistency hampered his production. He would appear in four more seasons for the Bolts, never accruing more than 20 combined tackles in a season and forcing only two fumbles in his NFL career. Like the Chargers during this timespan, English started off with a lot of promise only to slowly meltdown over time. By 2014, he was out of the NFL with only 12 sacks to his name. 

The silver lining for English? In 2017, he married an English (pun intended!) model named Nicole Williams and would go on to appear in the E! reality television series “WAGS” which centered around the romantic partners of athletes. So don’t cry too much for his maligned NFL career. 

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