This week we have spent a lot of time pondering the future of Charlie Whitehurst in San Diego (the veteran quarterback is set to hit the free agent market in March). The Chargers may look to draft a quarterback in order to save some cap space and make a play for the distant future. With this in mind, we look at the best and worst quarterbacks drafted by the Bolts.
We start with Philip Rivers. No. 17 has spent his entire career in San Diego, but actually wasn’t drafted by the Chargers. San Diego, of course, drafted Eli Manning and later traded for Rivers. You could make a very valid argument Rivers has been the far superior quarterback to Manning, but Eli has those two rings everyone loves to talk about. For the sake of disdain towards Manning brother two, I have to leave Eli off this list.
The best quarterback pick for the Chargers organization has to be the legendary Dan Fouts. In 1973, the Bolts stole the former Oregon Duck in the third round. Fouts went on to become the Chargers all-time leading passer and throw for more touchdowns that any other player to dawn the powder blue and gold. However, Fouts may not have been the best quarterback ever drafted by San Diego. That honor, in my opinion, goes to Drew Brees. Brees has already thrown for 8,000 more yards and 100 more touchdowns than Fouts and will continue to put up gaudy numbers. It is a much different NFL, and the stats don’t completely give the edge to Brees, but the Lombardi Trophy he earned makes him a slightly better pick than Fouts by the slimmest margin. The 2001 draft was special for San Diego. After acquiring LaDainian Tomlinson in the first round, the Bolts selected Drew Brees in the second. Unfortunately, Brees won his title in New Orleans, but I still think when the dust settles, sticking with Rivers will end up being the right move.
A sneaky great pick by San Diego was the selection of Trent Green in the eighth round of the 1993 draft. The Chargers cut Green shortly after he was drafted, but after spending some time in the CFL, Green had a great NFL career for an eighth round pick. He finished with 28,475 yards and 162 touchdown passes.
John Hadl was another big-time pick for the San Diego Chargers. In 1962, the Chargers grabbed the Kansas Jayhawk in the third round of the AFL draft (he was a first round pick in the NFL draft). Hadl went on to make four AFL All-Star teams and is the most prolific passer in Chargers history save Rivers and Fouts.