Purple haze: Chargers take 3 players from TCU in NFL draft
COSTA MESA, Calif. (AP) — General manager Tom Telesco and the Los Angeles Chargers pulled off one of the most unlikely trifectas in NFL draft history.
They are the first team in the common draft era, which began in 1967, to take a quarterback and multiple skill position players from the same school in a single draft.
Los Angeles capped off its draft by taking TCU quarterback Max Duggan in the seventh round. It began the draft on Thursday by taking Horned Frogs wide receiver Quentin Johnston with the 21st overall pick and added teammate Derius Davis in the fourth round on Saturday.
“To reunite with Q and Derius, and we all get to be out there and be a part of a great franchise and be a part of a great team with a great coaching staff, that is going to be fun,” Duggan said.
Duggan was the Heisman Trophy runner-up and led the Horned Frogs to an appearance in the College Football Playoff title game against Georgia, which took place at the Chargers’ home, SoFi Stadium.
Duggan was the Big 12’s Offensive Player of the Year after accounting for 41 touchdowns (32 passing, nine rushing). With Justin Herbert entrenched as the Chargers' quarterback, Duggan would presumably compete with Easton Stick for the backup spot.
“He’s tall, strong, physical, and fast, which typically aren’t the first four traits you would say about a quarterback,” Telesco said. “He has played at a high level and has good arm strength. He has a grittiness and toughness that is hard to find.”
Davis had 42 receptions for 531 yards and five touchdowns last season, but his biggest asset is as a return specialist. He ran back five punts and one kickoff for scores during his career, including two last season. His 15.0-yard career average on punt returns was third nationally among players with at least 40 returns.
“We’re really comfortable with him,” coach Brandon Staley said when asked if Davis would be his kickoff and punt returner going into the season. “We drafted him in the fourth round because we feel like he was one of the top returners in the country. And then looking at the landscape of both pro and college football, we felt like this guy has some special qualities.”
STRANGE, BUT TRUE
It's the first time in 40 years the Chargers have drafted three players from the same school. In 1983, they selected linebacker Billy Ray Smith, running back Gary Anderson and cornerback Danny Walters from Arkansas.
The last time Los Angeles drafted two players from the same school who play the same position was in 1997, when they took North Carolina A&T linebackers Michael Hamilton and Toran James.
WHO ELSE THEY GOT
Jordan McFadden, who went in the fifth round, started 39 games at offensive tackle for Clemson and was voted the Atlantic Coast Conference’s top lineman. He will likely be moved to guard and provide depth for Zion Johnson and Jamaree Salyer.
Sixth-round pick Scott Matlock was a five-year starter on the defensive line at Boise State. He adds some special teams versatility after blocking a pair of kicks in 2020.
Southern California defensive lineman Tuli Tuipulotu (second round) and Washington State linebacker Daiyan Henley (third round) also add depth.
The Chargers did well last year after the draft, adding some veteran depth at defensive line and linebacker. They are likely to be in the market for those areas again, as well as a tight end.
Los Angeles is trying to make back-to-back playoff appearances for the first time since 2009.
“Going into this draft, I felt was a little bit different than my first two drafts where we felt like there’s still some starting positions that are up for grabs and some things we needed to address,” Staley said. “I feel good about our starting 22, and the people we have coming back are really good. I felt like this was the draft where you can start to get in a rhythm of just picking the best players on the board that fit your team and culture.”
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Joe Reedy, The Associated Press