San Diego Chargers Rookie Most Likely To...

LB Larry English (Kevin Terrell/Getty)

The San Diego Chargers are counting on this year's rookies to make an immediate impact. But is the Class of '09 up to the challenge? SDBoltReport.com lays out the expectations for a handful of rookies.

Develop into a Pro Bowler: OLB Larry English

Accolades will be hard to come by this season for English, who will slide into a rotation already featuring Shawne Merriman, Shaun Phillips and Jyles Tucker. However, his pass-rushing skills will allow him to put up monster numbers sooner than later in San Diego's aggressive 3-4 defense. If Merriman leaves after the season as a free agent, English would be a threat to post double-digit sacks in 2010.

To read SDBoltReport.com's exclusive interview with Larry English, click here.

Start at Least Eight Games: OG Louis Vasquez

Vasquez is the only rookie in a legitimate battle for a starting job, as he looks to unseat nine-year veteran Kynan Forney. The early edge goes to Forney, who has 89 starts under his belt and has been voted a Pro Bowl alternate. Nonetheless, Vasquez boasts superior size (6-foot-5, 325 pounds) and athleticism, so the right guard job will be his at some point. As soon as he polishes his run blocking and adjusts to playing in a pro-style offense, he'll run first string.

Stay Glued to the Inactive List: C Tyronne Green

The Chargers drafted Green to take Jeremy Newberry's spot on the depth chart, but that doesn't mean he'll take Newberry's place on the active list. The Chargers usually keep three backup offensive linemen active on game days: one tackle and two interior linemen. L.J. Shelton figures to be the backup tackle, leaving the interior spots to Scott Mruczkowski and the loser of the Forney-Vasquez battle. Most likely, Green will spend this season improving his strength and polishing his technique.

Record at Least 50 Tackles: SS Kevin Ellison

Ellison might not unseat Clinton Hart, but he's likely to eat into Hart's playing time. Just how many snaps Ellison sees will depend on two things: 1) his ability to adapt to the speed of the NFL; and 2) his ability to stay healthy. If he can do both those things, he could see approximately 50 percent of the snaps at strong safety and put up respectable numbers in the process.

Stick as a College Free Agent: LB Darry Beckwith

The Chargers stole Beckwith as a free agent after NFL teams were scared off by his persistent knee injuries. However, Beckwith insists he is healthy now and ready to compete for a roster spot. Beckwith was projected by most to be a third- or fourth-round pick based off his game film. If he can play up to that projection, he may just swipe Matt Wilhelm's roster spot.

To read SDBoltReport.com's exclusive interview with Darry Beckwith, click here.


What do you expect from this year's rookies? Talk about it in the message boards.


Michael Lombardo is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and a long-time contributor to the Scout.com network. His analysis has been published by the NFL Network, Fox Sports and MySpace Sports. He has followed the Chargers for more than 15 years and covered the team since 2003.

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