LA Chargers News

3 second-year LA Chargers poised for a big year in 2022

Los Angeles Chargers v Las Vegas Raiders
Los Angeles Chargers v Las Vegas Raiders / Steve Marcus/GettyImages
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Asante Samuel Jr.
New England Patriots v Los Angeles Chargers / Meg Oliphant/GettyImages

2. Asante Samuel Jr.

Asante Samuel Jr. had a season that was almost the complete opposite of Palmer's rookie season. Palmer took some time to come on as a contributor on offense while Samuel was an instant contributor on defense but then two concussions resulted in missed time and he wasn't super impactful when he returned.

The 2021 second-round pick still played in 12 total games for the Bolts in 2021 and he started his NFL career off hot. Samuel picked off both Dak Prescott and Patrick Mahomes in Week 2 and 3 of the season and many Charger fans at the time were hyping him up as a potential Defensive Rookie of the Year candidate.

He would not intercept another pass the rest of the season and while he was still playing fine before his first concussion, he did not stand out as this lockdown corner in year one. That should have been expected, though. Samuel is absolutely a talented cornerback but expecting rookies to be great right out of the great is typically setting yourself up for disappointment.

Year two in Brandon Staley's defense should serve Samuel much better. Not only does he have an entire season of learning the defense behind him but he is also going to play more in the slot according to Staley.

Samuel can hang on the outside and putting him in the slot (and moving him around) is only going to allow him to show off his skill set as a cover corner. Any potential size issues will not be as prominent in the slot and with less pressure on him, the second-year corner should have a breakout year in year two.

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