Before the Chargers faced off against their crosstown rival LA Rams, it was decided that quarterback Justin Herbert and many other starters wouldn't play. Head coach Brandon Staley did announce that all of the rookies who were healthy would play.
The Chargers ended up winning the game 13-6. The real story was about all the rookies that played for the Chargers. They drafted nine players, and eight of them played and had an impact.
1st round draft pick: LT Rashawn Slater
He played in the opening drive of the game. It may seem like nothing, but the opening offensive drive for the Chargers offense was 21 plays and lasted 9:47. In the 20 plays, he was matched up against both Earnest Brown and Chris Garrett.
"It went well. Being able to come out here and be in front of everybody —I know that we're not the home team, but I feel like being here in the stadium and being around the guys for the first time in a game setting, was amazing," said the rookie left tackle.
He didn't allow a quarterback pressure and held his own.
"We just felt like that was a really positive drive, got to see a lot of him. He was able to get that wind that we were kind of hoping to gain today," said Staley about his left tackle being in good shape.
2nd round draft pick: CB Asante Samuel
Samuel started the game at cornerback opposite Michael Davis. He had a nice tackle towards the end of the first quarter. He launched himself like a missile against Rams receiver Tutu Atwell.
"You all are seeing it firsthand. He came up and made a big hit," said safety Derwin James to local television. "Like I told him, we're going to feed off that energy and keep getting better every day. He has a bright future."
On the next play, he gave up a 13-yard pass to a Rams receiver. After that, Samuel was as clean as a whistle. He played almost the entire first half and only gave up that pass.
"I think early in the game, he was a little careful with that, I think, you know, as it as it went on, he was more aggressive," said Staley.
3rd round draft pick 1: WR Josh Palmer
The rookie receiver showed out on Saturday night. He had four catches on the opening drive until he came out with an injury. He rebounded and made two more catches finishing the night with six catches for 36 yards.
Palmer was getting separation from the opposing corner, and when he finally plays with Herbert in the regular season will be an interesting pairing to watch.
"As you saw tonight, he can really separate and catch contested catches," said Staley. "Plays really physically, and we're lucky to have him."
3rd round draft pick 2: TE Tre' McKitty
He played numerous snaps but didn't have a target or reception.
4th round draft pick: OLB Chris Rumph
He came in at times during the first half but really made an impact in the second half. He almost had a sack, but it went to Emeke Egbule. He generated a consistent pass rush and even made a play in the run game in the fourth quarter. Rumph has a lot of teammates and coaches excited about his future.
5th round draft pick: Brenden Jaimes
He started the game at left guard next to Slater. When he was in the game, there was no pass rush from the left side. He was taken out early but had to go back in once the offensive line struggle containing the pass rush—solid job from the rookie.
6th round draft pick 1: LB Nick Niemann
The linebacker was used in the first-team kick return and other phases. He came in as a linebacker around the second quarter and made seven tackles.
6th round draft pick 2: RB Larry Rountree
There was a fourth down on the touchdown drive that the Chargers faced, and they decided to go for it. They handed the ball to Rountree, who got the first down and put a move on the defender, and gained 25-yards on the run.
"It was a lot of fun to see those guys get some movement and Larry to bust a good one there and keep moving the football," said quarterback Easton Stick. "So, that was huge for us."
7th round draft pick: S Mark Webb
Didn't play due to injury.