When the San Diego Chargers drafted a little known rookie out of North Dakota State with their fifth round selection, few in the city took notice. The team had already picked up Denzel Perryman out of the University of Miami with their second round pick, so naturally he was given most of the press. Perryman will still be a solid professional football player, but Kyle Emanuel has plain and simply been impressive.
The intangibles he shows are characteristic of a 10 year veteran and that kind of play can only be detected on game day. Veteran team captains Philip Rivers and Eric Weddle both commented on Emanuel and the effort he put forth on Sunday against the Detroit Lions. For a rookie to get that kind of praise in his first action of his professional career bodes well for the future of this young man.
In his first NFL start Emanuel recorded a sack, and interception and three tackles plus a pass defense. He was simply all over the place and all this despite suffering a shoulder injury which limited his snap count on the day. He started the game as an outside linebacker as a replacement for Jeremiah Attaochu who is battling a hamstring issue. Emanuel truly made the best of his first start and will likely see moe playing time moving forward.
His week 1 performance has put him on a short list for the running of the Pepsi Rookie of Week 1. Titans QB Marcos Mariota, Chiefs DB Marcus Peters, Bills DB Ronald Darby, and Lions RB Ameer Abdullah round out the list. Emanuel had a very impressive week 1 despite exiting the game in the 3rd quarter with a shoulder injury. The shoulder is said to be fine, and look for Emanuel to build on his success from week one.
The motor on this young man is very impressive. He has a relentless work ethic and that type of behavior can be very contagious to a young football team. That is exactly what the Chargers are on defense. There are a ton of talented young defenders on the team being lead by the likes of Eric Weddle and Brandon Flowers. The potential of this Chargers defense is scary. They must remain healthy though as injuries can desemate a team very quickly.
Chargers fans are already falling in love with #51. At 6 foot 3, Emanuel has terrific size and has shown a very quick burst with an assortment of moves to get to the ball. The National Media coverage of him is very nice. That in itself is an example of how special this 24 year old is. He will likely have growing pains, but if the early signs are an indication of his play, then he will be alright.
He will no longer sneak up on teams as he is now gaining a reputation. Let us see how the rookie adjusts to the attention he is surely going to get now. If he can make adjustments and learn from his mistakes the Chargers might have found a real diamond in the rough. Kudos to Tom Telesco and the Chargers front office for being aware of Kyle Emanuel and his ability.