The Los Angeles Chargers have been trying to find their linebacker of the future for the past few years! Did they find that answer for 2020 and beyond? Here’s who it is and why they will roll with the rookie!
It’s that time of year when rookies are all the rage. The NFL draft is complete, we know where everyone has landed and fantasy owners are consumed with rookie drafts. Now what we all want to know is how each rookie fits in with their new team. Also, what role they have immediately, with their new team. While every team looks ahead to the future, some of them roll with the rookies right away. We continue our Roll with the Rookie Series by taking a closer look at the LA Chargers to see which rookies they should roll with.
The Los Angeles Chargers have had a revolving door at the middle linebacker position for the past few years. They have tried the likes of Denzel Perryman, Kyzir White, Jatavius Brown, and even Mantei Teo. None of which have been anything more than average. Perryman has been the best of the bunch but only by default. No one else has been able to show enough to pass him on the depth chart, which is sad considering his injury history. Also, that he’s never passed 75 tackles in a season. So with the lack of success at the position, it was time for a change. Their luck just might have changed for the better after who they got in the 2020 NFL draft. They should roll with the rookie and so should you.
The Los Angeles Chargers drafted defensive tackle Kenneth Murray from Oklahoma, in the 1st round with the 23rd overall pick of the 2020 NFL Draft. In what’s a fairly deep draft class at the linebacker position, the Chargers got a great value getting Murray. The Chargers got what they needed in Murray, and he will be an impact player for the defense out the gate. There is a definite opening for Murray to take advantage of. No one is standing in his way to take off and run with the starting job. The Chargers have finally found their guy to man the middle and lead their defense.
The Chargers get an explosive player that has the range to make tackles from sideline to sideline and is as tough as they come in the tight phone book spaces that can be difficult to navigate. His ability to mentally process plays quickly and good instincts put him ahead from the snap of the ball all the way through to the end of the play. Murray is a physical player that plays with urgency. He is mostly considered a two-down thumper but is solid in zone coverage. He has some room to improve at man coverage, but his overall game will keep him on the field for all three downs. Some polish to his game will go a long way and with his talent. He can be the piece the Chargers have been needing for some time.
Senior stats: 14 games, 102 tackles, 17 tackles for a loss, 4 sacks, and 4 pass breakups
Why do I think the Chargers will roll with the rookie?
As I stated earlier the Chargers have been trying to address the position. However, up until this point, they haven’t had any luck. They have spent a lot of draft capital in recent drafts dating back to 2015 and haven’t been able to get the return they have been expecting. Murray has had more tackles (325) in the past two seasons than Perryman (301) has had in his five year NFL career. Perryman has been the default starter to this point for the Chargers. This is Murray’s time to lead the team in the right direction. The rest of the roster at the position is unimpressive and disappointing. So with the high draft capital the Chargers spent on Murray, it makes perfect sense that they roll with the rookie.
What does this mean in the fantasy football world? It means he will be a starter from day one which is huge for fantasy owners. We all know the linebacker position scores major points. Murray will be the starter from day one and will produce big numbers for a team in transition. He will man the starting MLB role for the Chargers. In fantasy, that is one of the most productive positions in IDP leagues. Murray will be a great source for high tackle numbers. He’s not going to offer much as an impact play (sacks & int’s) producer, so anything you get from him in those categories should be considered bonuses.
In rookie drafts, Murray will cost you an early-round pick if you intend on drafting him. In my IDP rookie draft database, he’s selected as the third linebacker off the board at an average of 22nd overall. That places his draft value somewhere in the late 2nd round of rookie drafts. Murray is being drafted five picks after Patrick Queen and Isaiah Simmons. This makes him a more justifiable draft capital option. The Chargers spent the early draft capital and intend to roll with the rookie and so should you.