Ex-NFL First Rounder Offers Draft Insights, Rookie Prospects, and LA Chargers' Post-Season Challenges

Former NFL First Round Pick, Shawne Merriman shares personal Draft reflections and offers profound insights into the challenging business decisions faced by franchises.

Louis Hobbs
Louis Hobbs

Last Updated: 2024-04-22

Naim Rosinski

7 minutes read

From One First Round Pick to Another

Former NFL star Shawne Merriman, known for his dynamic play on the field and keen insights off it, recently shared his thoughts on the upcoming 2024 NFL Draft. Merriman, a first-round pick himself, offered a blend of personal experiences and strategic analysis as he delved into the draft's dynamics, the business side of the NFL, and potential game-changing prospects.

Draft Day Reflections

Reflecting on his own draft day experiences in an exclusive interview with, Merriman expressed both excitement and nerves. "You're lucky to get drafted anywhere, right?" he remarked. "But I did not want to go to Cleveland, because they weren’t a good team. I wanted to go to someone that was going to win." His eventual selection by the San Diego Chargers (now Los Angeles Chargers) at pick 12 filled him with joy, avoiding destinations he deemed less favourable.

I was nervous as hell. I mean if your name is called in that first round, it is an honour, is a privilege. I wanted to go somewhere, where I can win a championship. So, when I fell to pick 11 or 12, I was ecstatic to go to the Cowboys or Chargers”, he added. 

Merriman's Draft Strategy

Transitioning to his hypothetical role as the Chargers' General Manager, Merriman outlined his draft strategy. He emphasised the importance of bolstering the wide receiver corps and shoring up the defensive line to address past weaknesses. 

It is wide receiver, in my opinion. It is wide receiver, and then I would go defensive line. You got to get a big interior defensive line to stop that run. They had a problem stopping the run last year. If one of those top offensive linemen slip to the second round, you get him. But if the offensive tackle that you want is gone, then you automatically go d-line.”

Top Picks and Game-Changing Talent

With an eye on potential franchise-altering talent, Merriman singled out Marvin Harrison Jr. as a top target, alongside Malik Nabers from LSU, advocating for transformative additions to the Chargers' roster.

“They’ve got to go out and get the best player in this year’s draft which in my opinion is Marvin Harrison Jr. They need to go out and get wide receivers and the two shore guys are Harrison Jr, and then Malik Nabers at LSU. Generational talent wise you cannot pass up on one of these two guys.”


Image credit: Bleacher Report

Pass Rushing Prospects: Standouts and Hidden Gems

Discussing top pass rushing prospects, Merriman spotlighted Dallas Turner as a standout talent expected to command attention early in the draft. Additionally, he shed light on Chop Robinson from Penn State, drawing parallels to Micah Parsons for his explosive playmaking abilities and versatility on the field.

“Dallas Turner is the standout; we all know he’ll be going in the top-10. I think the guy that no one’s really talking about enough is Chop Robinson from Penn State. I’ve watched this player since he was a kid, he has the defensive rookie mentality. He’s explosive and can play all over the field. I hate to make comparisons to other players, but he’s like Micah Parsons.”

Advice for Prospects

Offering advice to young prospects, Merriman recommended staying home rather than attending the draft ceremony, citing his own decision to do so. "Don't go to the draft," he advised. Instead, he advocated for celebrating the milestone with family and loved ones in a more intimate setting.

“I just remember watching the picks before me and guys are sitting there with that damn camera in their face when they're supposed to go the top 10. They don't go until later in the first, or sometime in the second, it can get embarrassing.”

Focusing on the LA Chargers’ free agency, the former Defensive Rookie of the Year also didn't abandon discussing the harsh realities of the NFL business. Merriman's observation on the departure of star receiver Keenan Allen from the Los Angeles Chargers due to contract negotiations encapsulates the ruthless nature of the NFL business landscape. 

With Allen likely having a few prime years left in his career, the Chargers were faced with the daunting prospect of meeting his wage demands. However, the Chicago Bears, eager to secure Allen's talents, were prepared to fulfil his contract desires, turning the situation into a stark business decision for the Chargers. This scenario underscores the harsh reality faced by teams in managing salary caps and player contracts, where difficult choices must be made to maintain competitiveness while navigating financial constraints. 

“The business is crazy. It was a big thing hit with Keenan Allen. He’s probably got a couple more years left at the top level. The Bears were willing to pay the contract of his desires, so it became a business decision”, told Merriman. 

Merriman's Insights Shape the Draft Landscape

In conclusion, Shawne Merriman's insights provide a multifaceted view of the upcoming NFL Draft. From personal anecdotes to strategic assessments, his perspective underscores the blend of excitement, business acumen, and strategic foresight inherent in one of the NFL's most pivotal events. As the draft approaches, Merriman's words offer valuable guidance for players, teams, and fans alike, shaping expectations and strategies for the future of football.

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Louis Hobbs
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