Rookie Report

For years, the Chargers reaped instant production from their rookies. In 2004, it was Igor Olshansky and Nick Hardwick; in 2005, Shawne Merriman and Luis Castillo; and in 2006, Antonio Cromartie and Marcus McNeill. This year's class is on the verge of bucking that trend. SDBoltReport.com reviews the early returns on the class of '07.

1. Craig Davis, WR: The two positions with the most daunting learning curves are quarterback and wide receiver. Nonetheless, Davis has been an early season disappointment. Not only has he yet to record a 100-yard game, he has yet to top the century mark on the season. His average yards per catch (9.3) is also a disappointment, as he was drafted to stretch the field.

Davis tends to disappear as the game progresses. He has only two second-half catches all season and has yet to catch a ball in the fourth quarter. Additionally, he's played down to his reputation of being overly affected by minor injuries. Hopefully, the addition of Chris Chambers will lighten Davis' burden and allow him to use his quickness to excel out of the slot.


Eric Weddle, Brandon Siler
Doug Pensinger/Getty

2. Eric Weddle, SS: Weddle came to San Diego hoping to capitalize on a ferocious pass rush. Instead, he has been the one providing it. The versatile safety already has a sack and 1.5 tackles for a loss despite limited playing time. Ted Cottrell loves to blitz him out of dime packages and Weddle has taken advantage.

The heady rookie has made his presence felt in several phases of the game. He has 21 tackles and a pass break-up on defense to go along with a tackle and fumble recovery on special teams. Clinton Hart has been playing well (24 tackles, two picks), but it is clear he is just keeping a spot warm for Weddle.

3. Anthony Waters, ILB: After flashing some serious skills in training camp, Waters has yet to be active on game day. He has been limited by lingering knee pain after undergoing ACL surgery on his left knee just over a year ago. He has been limited in practice but not listed on the injury report. The Chargers remain optimistic he can contribute on special teams down the stretch and challenge for meaningful playing time next season.

4a. Scott Chandler, TE: The lengthy tight end has yet to see regular season action after enjoying a busy preseason, during which he caught seven balls for 60 yards. Four of those passes went for first downs and one went for a score. Chandler is a natural receiver but a sub-par blocker. Until he balances that out, he will never get Brandon Manumaleuna off the field.

4b. Paul Oliver, CB: Like Chandler, Oliver is waiting for his first regular season action. Unlike Chandler, Oliver has big playing time in his future. Drayton Florence is in the final year of his contract and has the worst burn ratio in the league amongst cornerbacks thrown at 25-plus times. Oliver will be no worse than the nickel back in 2008 and has a chance to start ahead of the inconsistent Antonio Cromartie. Oliver is a physical defender who can knock receivers out of their routes, fill against the run and get after the quarterback. As a supplemental pick, his progress has been hindered by his late addition to the roster.


Legedu Naanee
Paul  Connors/AP

5. Legedu Naanee, HB: Norv Turner originally envisioned a versatile H-Back role for Naanee. However, the injury to Eric Parker forced Naanee focus on playing receiver. With the addition of Chambers, Naanee can re-familiarize himself with the unique packages Turner planned for him. Naanee has been active for three games, netting one tackle on special teams, and could see a few snaps from scrimmage as the season progresses.

7. Brandon Siler, LB: Siler has been the most productive rookie not taken in the first two rounds. He made a name for himself on special teams, returning a fumble 23 yards for a touchdown, and has become a defensive regular in short-yardage and goal-line situations. He has seven tackles on the season and has leapfrogged both Waters and second-year pro Tim Dobbins in the rotation.

Michael Lombardo is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and a long-time contributor to the Scout.com network. He has followed the Chargers for more than 14 years and covered the team since 2003.


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