Mailbag: Which Rookie Is Getting the Most Hype?

Q:  Last year, there was a lot of talk and hype surrounding Jatavis Brown's selection in the 5th round. Chargers staff received messages of praise from teams around the league. Did we receive any of that same praise this year with any of our 2017 draft class? – Manny Osegura

A: Looking around the league, draft pundits have given the Chargers’ draft class as a whole some of the top grades in the NFL. Most talk has been about them getting tremendous value in their picks, including players like Forrest Lamp, Dan Feeney and Desmond King. Many pundits expected those three players to go in earlier rounds.  It’s funny you mention last year’s fifth round selection because once again, draft experts are raving about the value the Bolts got in King.  They think L.A. hit it big by getting a former Jim Thorpe Award winner that late when many expected him off the board by the end of day two.  It’s the third straight year the team’s fifth-round pick has made news immediately after the draft, following in the footsteps of Brown last year and Kyle Emanuel in 2015.   

Q:  Hi Ricky, I really respect your opinion so I say this with all due respect! Given Keenan Allen is healthy, how can you say anybody else would be Philip Rivers’ main target? I cannot stop thinking about the first half of the Chiefs game last year and what could have been if Keenan did not get hurt. He could not be stopped by any one of the NFL's best. – Michael Huston

A: I think you may have misunderstood my response in last week’s mailbag.  I don’t think there will be one single “main target”.  The Bolts are so deep with playmakers that it is impossible to say one single player will be Rivers’ main target.  Offensive Coordinator Ken Whisenhunt noted as well that the team will be able to cater its game plan around that week’s opponent, meaning the leader in targets may change drastically week to week.  Now, I did name Antonio Gates as Rivers’ favorite target.  With the history between the two as the most prolific QB-TE duo in NFL history, and ranked among the top three of any pairing regardless of position, I don’t know how you can name anyone other than number 85 as Rivers’ favorite target.

Q:  At rookie mini camp how many players, other than 2017 true rookies, participate? The photos appear to show offense & defense players in near equal numbers. – John Hoyer

A: Like all teams, the Bolts invite a litany of non-contract participants for the mini camp.  It’s not uncommon for one of these “try out” players to end up inking a deal, which is exactly what happened with Indiana wide receiver Mitchell Paige.  Others in the past who have gone from “try out” players in the NFL to a spot on the Bolts’ roster include Branden Oliver and Adrian Phillips.

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