The LA Chargers season ended in Week 18 and as the playoff teams have gone to battle Charger fans have gotten more time to reflect on the 2021 season. While the end result was ultimately a disappointment, there were a lot of positive things to build on moving forward.
Most notably, the Chargers are a really young team that should, in theory, get better over time. While Tom Telesco has had some bad drafts in his day, the 2021 NFL Draft was one of his better performances, at least after one year.
Perhaps the difference was Brandon Staley's input and say in the process. Regardless of what it was, as a whole, the 2021 draft is much deeper than the last two years.
Grading the LA Chargers 2021 draft class after one season:
Rashawn Slater: A+
We all knew that Rashawn Slater was an excellent tackle prospect and that if he somehow fell to the Chargers that he would likely become the team's franchise left tackle for years to come. Never in a million years did it seem like Slater would actually fall all the way to 13, but low and behold, he did.
Slater had high expectations heading into his rookie season and still managed to absolutely smash them. No one could have blamed Slater if there was a learning curve in his rookie season after taking his last year of college off to focus on the NFL Draft. It is not uncommon for talented rookies to struggle a tad early in their rookie season.
Slater never struggled. He started the season off so well against Chase Young that he forced him to switch which side he rushed from. Slater played at an All-Pro level for the Bolts in 2021 and has all the makings of being the team's best left tackle in quite some time.