Chargers' Junior Colson is already turning heads at rookie minicamp

Rose Bowl Game - Alabama v Michigan
Rose Bowl Game - Alabama v Michigan / Ryan Kang/GettyImages

It seemed like a foregone conclusion going into the NFL Draft that the LA Chargers would draft at least one player from Michigan. Jim Harbaugh was fond of his time in Ann Arbor and spoke highly of his former Wolverines throughout the pre-draft process, so it felt inevitable.

When the dust settled, Harbaugh drafted two Michigan players: linebacker Junior Colson in round three and wide receiver Cornelius Johnson in the seventh round.

The Colson pick received rave reviews. Not only will Colson play under the same head coach (Harbaugh) and defensive coordinator (Jesse Minter) that he did at Michigan, but linebacker is a glaring need for a Chargers defense that let Kenneth Murray leave in free agency and released veteran Eric Kendricks to free up cap space.

It's obviously early in Colson's pro career, but he's already turning heads at Chargers rookie minicamp. Harbaugh, who is always honest with the media, raved about Colson's early impact.

Jim Harbaugh dishes big praise to Chargers rookie Junior Colson

"It’s been great. He knows the defense so well. It’s such an incredible thing. I’m not saying he’s going to be wearing any dots or anything anytime soon — probably not the first year. He’s literally making all of the calls. He’s making all the linebacker calls. He’s making the DB calls right now. The safeties that are making calls are getting it mostly right. I’d give them an ‘A,’ but the ones that they miss on, Junior will make the call and correct the call for the safeties, which is awesome. In a meeting with the linebackers, NaVorro [Bowman] would ask a question and Junior would give the right answer. It finally got to the point, ‘Somebody other than Junior answer this next question. It’s safe to say that he knows he’s on it. It’s a great thing for our team."

It's important not to overreact to a mid-May quote. Contact isn't even permitted at minicamp and players don't wear pads. However, the offseason program is paramount in terms of installing new schemes and concepts. With three years of experience in Harbaugh's defense, Colson is already correcting veterans and directing teammates into the right spot.

As a nine-year vet and 2021 Pro Bowler, Denzel Perryman might ultimately get the green dot as the Chargers' field commander. Based on the early impression Colson has made, though, he may give Harbaugh something to think about once the pads come on.

It's impossible to judge a draft pick less than a month after the draft itself, but Colson is taking the shape of a home

What makes the pick even more praise-worthy? That the Chargers avoided taking the wrong Michigan player: RB Blake Corum. It would have been easy for Harbaugh and GM Joe Hortiz to take Corum, who was a borderline superstar over his final two seasons in Ann Arbor.

Colson was the better prospect and fit a bigger need, and Harbaugh and Co. are already reaping the benefits.