NBC Sports' Peter King joined the latest episode of "Chargers Weekly" from training camp at Jack Hammett Sports Complex in Costa Mesa.
Download and subscribe to the Chargers Podcast Network wherever you get your podcasts. Full video episodes are available on Chargers.com and the team's official YouTube channel. Among the topics with King:
- Peter's last time at Chargers camp in 2019 (:30)
- Thoughts on the Chargers entering 2021 (2:18)
- The team's X-factor player in 2021 (8:55)
- Offensive tackle Rashawn Slater "the biggest gift in this draft) (11:00)
- Forecasting the AFC West (13:06)
The Athletic's Daniel Popper also joined the podcast to recap the first week of camp (16:45).
Highlights from the conversation with King are below:
X-factor for the Chargers in 2021
"Hey, and I'll tell you this – in my opinion – I think the guy who nobody is talking about with this team is the tight end. … I feel like Jared Cook wasn't really used to his ultimate advantage and in the way that he should have been used in New Orleans. And look, far be it from me, Sean Payton's a genius, but I'm just saying Jared Cook will be better this year in this offense than he was last year with Drew Brees. No criticism of Brees, no criticism of Payton. That's just the way it went.
"Every camp I go to I do an X-factor player. He's my X-factor player for this team. Because, in my opinion, I won't be surprised to see him catch 60 balls with eight touchdowns and really have an impact on this offense."
Los Angeles' first two draft picks
"See, Rashawn Slater to me was like the biggest gift in this draft. Because I just remember, there were two general managers in the top 10 who after the draft said, 'We had Slater our highest-rated tackle.' There's been a lot of tackles taken early in the last couple of drafts, but if you look at it last year there's only one of those four tackles – [Tampa Bay's] Tristan Wirfs – who really is a legit, no-question guy. So, it's not a lock that Slater is going to be really good, but I take my chances with him because I think that he's got a lot of NFL traits.
"Asante Samuel [Jr.'s] got a lot of NFL traits, too, and it's not just because of who his dad is. I think a lot of people love that pick, especially where the Chargers got him. So, you're right. I think the Chargers got a couple of really good prospects. Look, if both of those guys play well and bear fruit early, wow. That's a gigantic advantage for them."
Forecasting the Chargers' season
"Here's the thing about the Chargers. They will score like Kansas City. And so then it comes down to how's your defense going to play. I think the Chargers are going to score and now it comes down to how quickly they buy into the scheme – the Staley scheme. And look, I just think it's always, you always got to ask yourself this question: If you can tell me right now that [Joey] Bosa plays 17 games healthy as a mule, I'm putting a lot of stock in the Chargers to make a run this year."
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