The LA Chargers have not played a game that matters yet in the 2021 season but it is safe to say that fans are feeling great about the team's 2021 draft class. While there is still a lot left to prove, this draft class has all the early signs of being special.
The last thing we want to do here at Bolt Beat is overreact over some training camp highlights and one preseason game. In reality, it takes 3-4 seasons to fully evaluate a draft class, and at least two seasons to get a firm grasp.
Great rookie seasons don't guarantee anything and struggling in year one does not mean that a player won't be successful. With all of that being said, it might sound absurd to even say that this draft class has all the makings of being special.
But the LA Chargers' 2021 draft class does have all the makings of being special.
It really is not that hard of an exercise to showcase how special this draft class can be. All we have to do is run through the players, how they have faired thus far and the promise they are entering the league with.
First-round pick Rashawn Slater has been everything ad advertised. He was widely considered to be one of two truly elite tackles in the draft class along with Penei Sewell. The fact that he even fell to 13 seemed like a true miracle.
There were no doubts that Slater would be a great offensive tackle in the league but it was fair to expect there to be some sort of rookie learning curve, especially after not playing for a year in college.
He is far from perfect and his run-blocking will improve over time but his pass-blocking has been really good, both in camp against the Chargers' defense as well as the preseason game against the Rams.
He very well could be a top-10 left tackle in his rookie season. It is not absurd to think that in the slightest.
Asante Samuel Jr. was another player who fell to the Chargers that nobody realistically expected to fall. He fell to the Bolts in the second round likely because high size (five-ten) despite him showing all of the positive signs you want to see out of a corner in coverage.
He too has been better than expected this early on and has all the makings of being a CB1. It might not be in 2021, but it definitely seems fair to give him that assessment with how quickly he has come into the league.
Josh Palmer has been the player that I have been really surprised to see. A lot of Charger fans were very high on Palmer and I didn't expect him to be an impact player in year one and not much different than any mid-round receiver the team could have picked.
Palmer has already shown a really polished game and is arguably the second-best route runner on the team already. Not only is he going to have an impact in year one, but he seems destined to be a good WR2 option at the very least.
Tre' McKitty has not come along as much as his classmates, but his blocking abilities will help him maintain a job in this league even if he doesn't come along (it is way too early to expect him not to).
But then we look at the Chargers' fourth-round pick and see Brenden Jaimes, who was really good in the preseason game against the Rams and is proving to be a really solid, versatile, depth option on the offensive line.
Larry Rountree looked really good in the preseason win over the Rams as well and the doors are wide open for him to be the RB2 as early as this season. It is still way too early for us to get that excited about him but he has the makings of being a rotational back at worst.
There are four players in this class that every Charger fan should already feel really good about and another two in McKitty and Rountree who could be really good as well. Even if that is the only four that end up being above-average players, that is still a really good class for the LA Chargers.
The future is arriving with the Bolts and it is impossible to not be excited about what is in store for this new era.