13 years ago yesterday, inside the hallowed halls of Madison Square Garden, the San Diego Chargers were drafting first overall after a disastrous 1-15 record and 440 points allowed in the 2000 NFL regular season. As fate would have it, the Bolts may have had the best combination of first and second round picks in NFL history.
The Chargers would swap picks with the lowly Atlanta Falcons and move back four spots (Pick No. 5) accumulating additional picks and speedster, Tim Dwight. The Dirty Birds, three seasons removed from making the Super Bowl, had stumbled their way to an abysmal record and a quarterback from Virginia Tech had their heart. That man was none other than Michael Vick.
And so the Falcons chose Vick, and Vick would have his moments in the sun with the Dirty Birds. As we know however, those moments were equally met with a disastrous turn of events in the year 2007, when Michael was sent to jail on chargers stemming from running an illegal dog fighting ring.
The Chargers, meanwhile, slithered their way into an extraordinary position.
Dropping down to the fifth overall selection, the Bolts saw future Pro Bowlers Leonard Davis and Justin Smith go by, while the Browns wound up with the likes of Gerard Warren. Guess how that turned out? The Bolts had their eyes on a running back from Texas Christian University who was a standout amongst his fellow peers. The Chargers decided that he was their guy, and boy did he make an impact.
That man, of course, was running back LaDainian Tomlinson. His résumé speaks for itself, as the five-time Pro Bowler and 2006 NFL MVP had an incredible run in his time in America’s Finest City.
The Chargers stayed the course as the second round began. Much like Atlanta, who they traded picks with in the first round, San Diego was looking for a quarterback. The Ryan Leaf Era was, well, you know by now. And Jim Harbaugh unfortunately was not much better, and neither was the not-so legendary Moses Moreno, who started two games for the Chargers in the year 2000.
The Bolts shot up from The Lone Star State to the Hoosier State for their next selection. They had their eyes laid upon a Big Ten standout, whose terrific play at Purdue sparked the affection of many clubs. His stature was in question, but this former Boilermaker would make a career out of showing that size truthfully does not matter.
Who was the Chargers’ second selection? Why, it was Drew Brees, of course. The man affectionately known as ‘Breesus’ may be tearing it up in the Bayou, but his career as a Bolt was stellar in itself. Most notably, Brees was tremendous in the year 2004, when he threw for over 3,000 yards, 27 touchdowns to just seven interceptions, with a Y/A of 7.9 which still remains one of the highest in his career.
Not often does a franchise pick up two Hall of Fame players in two consecutive rounds. But that is exactly what the San Diego Chargers did in the year 2001. After one of the Chargers best drafts in years during 2013, the Bolts will look to replicate the success of years past and hit it big in 2014.