As we say goodbye to the Chargers 2017 season and get ready to welcome in a new rookie class, let’s take a look at how the 2017 rookie class performed in their first (of hopefully many) seasons in the NFL.
Ekeler was arguably the Chargers most pleasant surprise in the 2017 season. Ekeler made his NFL debut in week 4 against the Philadelphia Eagles, in which he had 1 carry for 35 yards and a touchdown. Although many (including myself) saw it as nothing more than a fluke, this was the start of what would turn out as a solid rookie season for the undrafted scat-back. Ekeler then beat out fellow running back Brandon Oliver for the backup running back spot and became a crucial piece to the Los Angeles offense.
He provided a great change of pace from Melvin Gordon’s downfield running, much like Darren Sproles and the vintage Chargers teams. On the season, Ekeler averaged 5.5 yards per carry and found the end zone twice rushing the ball. As for receiving, Ekeler averaged 10.3 yards a reception and found the end zone three different times. Overall, Ekelers value to this team could be an instrumental piece in a January run.
Don’t even get me started. I was already a bit iffy with the choice to select a wide receiver in the first round. I understand Keenan Allen had struggled with some injury problems, but he was still an elite NFL receiver. When you have someone of his caliber on your roster, you can basically plug anyone else in at receiver and they are going to get catches because of how much attention he draws. Not to mention the fact that Williams had also struggled with injuries in college and missed most of the offseason training due to a back surgery. At the end of the day, there were bigger issues this team needed to address with the seventh overall pick other than a wide receiver (which clearly wasn’t needed). Anyway, Williams played 10 games during his rookie season and ended with the following stat line:
10 receptions, 95 yards, 0 touchdowns.
Keenan Allen alone had four different games this year that were better than Mike Williams’ entire season. I understand that the Chargers maybe weren’t giving him many snaps, but that’s only because they don’t need him! And when he did get in the game, there were multiple dropped balls and an overall lack of production. You could not have dreamt of a worse opening season for Mike Williams.
It wasn’t a bad start to Dan Feeney’s young career. He started 9 out of the 15 games he was active and showed great promise. According to Pro Football Focus, Feeney was a high-quality guard in terms of both run block and pass block. Not only was Feeney protecting Philip Rivers from costly hits, but he paved the way for Melvin Gordon’s 1,000 yard season. Overall, it was a solid season for Dan Feeney, who has the potential to become an all-pro offensive lineman.
King was one of the biggest shocks that came out of the 2017 rookie class. Drafted as a fifth-round pick out of Iowa, the bar was not set high at all for King. However, due to some injuries in the secondary, King was able to play in all 16 regular season games. Over the course of those games, King was able to put up the following stat line:
1 interception, 1 touchdown, 4.0 sacks, 61 tackles, 10 assisted tackles
Averaging nearly four tackles a game and sacking more quarterbacks than some of the best defensive linemen in the game, King was ranked as the thirteenth best cornerback in the league, according to Pro Football Focus. Not only that, but King was also ranked as the eight best rookie and second-best cornerback from the 2017 draft class. Clearly a stud in the making, there’s no doubt in my mind that Desmond King will be a future pro bowler.
*No other defensive rookie for the Chargers made a significant impact
–Travis Baker is a Staff Writer for Full Press Coverage and covers the Los Angeles Chargers. Follow him on Twitter @SportsFollower0