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Can Chargers pick beat the odds?

Discussion in 'Chargers Fan Forum' started by Johnny Lightning, May 5, 2010.

  1. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

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    Bolts' final-round draft picks haven't stayed around too long

    By Don Norcross, UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER
    Wednesday, May 5, 2010


    As the recent NFL draft meandered deep into its third day, University of Miami tight end Dedrick Epps couldn’t watch anymore. Disappointed his name hadn’t been called, watching other tight ends he deemed inferior go before him, Epps turned off the TV.
    Then his phone started chirping. Teams weighed his interest in signing as a free agent. Then came the best call of all. The Chargers were on the line. They were selecting Epps with their final pick, the 235th of 255 possible selections overall.
    “I can’t wait to get out there,” said Epps, who will participate in the team’s rookie orientation Friday and Saturday. “All this time I’ve been watching Antonio Gates on TV. To actually go out there and learn the game from him, it’s unreal.”
    Here’s something that is real: the odds of Epps enjoying a lengthy career with the club are long. In the Chargers’ previous 49 drafts, only 10 players selected in the final round lasted more than one season.
    Just as it’s not good to be the last player selected in a pickup basketball game, it’s not good for the ego, or paycheck, to be drafted in the last round.
    There have been exceptions for the Chargers, most notably in the 1960s. Center Sam Gruneisen was selected in the 25th round of the 1962 American Football League draft and embarked on a 12-year career, 11 with the Chargers.
    “The thing I remember about Sam is how smart he was,” said former Chargers quarterback John Hadl, now an associate athletic director at his alma mater, Kansas. “And how hard he studied the game. He was a very determined guy. I just had a feeling he was going to make it.”
    Safety Kenny Graham was taken in the last round of the ’64 draft. In six seasons with the Chargers, Graham intercepted 25 passes, returning five for touchdowns.
    Should Epps need inspiration for beating the odds, he need not look far. Center-guard Scott Mruczkowski was the 242nd player selected in the 2005 draft. The Chargers picked two offensive linemen before him. One didn’t make the roster. The other lasted one season. Mruczkowski, meanwhile, is preparing for his sixth season with the club. He started 13 games last year at center, subbing for the injured Nick Hardwick.
    In 2005, Mruczkowksi was told by his agent that he could go anywhere from the fourth round or later. He lasted until the seventh.
    “Even in that situation (if he had been selected in the fourth round), you’re an underdog,” said Mruczkowski. “Nothing’s guaranteed unless you’re drafted in the top rounds. But as long as you’re presented with an opportunity, you’ve got a chance to get your foot in the door. When I heard my name called I was super, super excited. It was a dream come true.”
    The odds of a final-round draft pick making an NFL roster today aren’t as slim as they once were for an obvious reason: Since 1994, the draft has been pared to seven rounds.
    From 1967 through ’76, the draft lasted 17 rounds. Only one Charger taken in the final round during that stretch stuck with the club for more than one season: defensive lineman Charles DeJurnett.
    While the draft may be shorter now, players taken in the final round should be advised to rent a home, not buy. Of the 16 players the Chargers selected with their final pick since 1994, only five lasted longer than one season. Ten didn’t make the team.
    One player the Chargers selected with their last pick passed for 28,475 yards, 162 touchdowns, earned millions of dollars and was selected to play in two Pro Bowls.
    Only Trent Green didn’t do any of it with the Chargers.
    With three selections remaining in the 1993 draft’s eighth round, Chargers General Manager Bobby Beathard sent a 1994 sixth-round pick to San Francisco for the 49ers’ eighth-round selection, which he used to take Green.
    Green stuck with the Chargers for one season as the No. 3 quarterback behind Stan Humphries and John Friesz. He was released the next summer. Green didn’t attempt his first NFL pass until 1998. (Until that season, he had played exactly one down.)
    Green went on to throw for more than 4,000 yards in three successive seasons with Kansas City. Now a broadcaster, Green offers his perspective on the attitude a final draft choice should bring.
    “Don’t say a whole lot,” he said. “Just do a whole lot of listening and work as hard as you can possibly work. You’ve got to make an impression far beyond what a lot of others have to make. When you get your opportunity, you’ve got to make sure you’re 100 percent ready because you’re not going to get as many opportunities as a guy (taken) a lot higher than you.”
    Mruczkowski offered two other pieces of advice.
    “As my agent said, don’t make the same mistake twice,” Mruczkowski said. “That sticks in a coach’s mind. And as the saying goes, the more you can do, the longer you’ll be around.”
    Epps vows to adopt a similar philosophy.
    “When you get picked in the late rounds, everyone says they should have been picked earlier,” he said. “Everyone comes with a chip on their shoulder.
    “I know I can play in this offense. Catch the ball, block, special teams. I’m going to go there and show I’m able to do whatever it takes.”
    Bolts’ final-round draft picks haven’t stayed around too long
     
  2. RM24

    RM24 BoltTalker

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    I hope Epps at least makes the PS. This roster is so stacked that it's difficult to make this squad at almost any position! He has a shot since Manumaleuna went back to the Lambs so there is a TE position open. Gates, Wilson and Epps. That will work! :)



     
  3. Zeus

    Zeus BoltTalker

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    He does have a good chance to stay.

    We only have two real TEs right now. Wilson and Gates.

    If he has a good chance he can make the roster.
     
  4. RM24

    RM24 BoltTalker

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    I wonder if he's related to Omar Epps, actor on "House"

    [​IMG]
     
  5. Savage Lizard

    Savage Lizard Charger fan at 7000'

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    Mike Tomlin!
     
  6. Retired Catholic

    Retired Catholic BoltTalker

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    Epps has to have a real shot. There an open spot that no one else seems to be in serious contention for.
     
  7. RM24

    RM24 BoltTalker

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    Separated at Birth!


    [​IMG]
     
  8. charger1993

    charger1993 bad motherfucker

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    Dude thats scary how much they look alike
     

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