Friday, February 11, 2011

How the San Diego Chargers were built

On ESPN's "Tuesday Morning Quarterback" from the week before the Super Bowl (, Gregg Easterbrook talks about how the Packers and the Steelers were both built through the draft, as most teams claim they'd like to do. He looks at how the majority of the starters for both teams were either drafted by the team, or picked up as an undrafted free agent after the draft. Each team had 18 out of 22 starters spend their entire career with that team. No starters were obtained in a trade, and only Charles Woodson was a big money free agent.

After reading this, I got to thinking about my team, the San Diego Chargers. AJ Smith talks about wanting to build through the draft, but how has he done over the years? For the purposes of this, I used the Chargers depth chart posted on the website on 2/11/11 (

We'll start with the offense. Ryan Mathews, Jacob Hester, Vincent Jackson, Marcus McNeil, Nick Hardwick, Louis Vasquez and Jeromy Clary were all drafted by the Chargers.

Malcolm Floyd, and Kris Dielman were both undrafted free agents signed by the Chargers.

Kris Wilson was a free agent pickup by the Chargers, originally drafted by the Chiefs. This is a spot where you could argue that he's not really the starter, that's Antonio Gates, who was placed in IR after the Chargers were eliminated from playoff contention. But since the last depth chart had Wilson listed as the starter, we'll go with him.

And Philip Rivers. What do you do with him? Technically, he was drafted by the Giants, and traded to the Chargers. But that was all part of a trade situation from the get-go, and Rivers never signed a contract with the Giants. So I think we can say that Rivers has spend his entire career as a Charger, basically being drafted by them.

That's 10 offensive starters who spend their entire career with the Chargers.

On the defensive side, Luis Castillo, Shaun Phillips, Brandon Siler, Quentin Jammer, Antoine Cason and Eric Weddle were all drafted by the Chargers.

Jacques Cesaire, Antwan Applewhite and Steve Gregory were undrafted free agents signed by the Chargers.

Antonio Garay and Kevin Burnett were obtained as free agents.

That's 9 defensive starters who have spent their entire career with the Chargers.

So 19/22 starters is actually ahead of both of the Super Bowl teams. What does that mean? Nothing really. The Chargers didn't make the playoffs this year So this only really says that the team does build through the draft, bringing in players as rookies and developing them, rather than going after big free agents.