The field before a Los Angeles Chargers game. Courtesy, Dignity Health Sports Park

The Los Angeles Chargers didn’t have a selection during the second day of the NFL draft, having traded two Thursday for another first-round choice.

The Chargers selected Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert with the sixth overall choice Thursday. They followed by drafting Oklahoma linebacker Kenneth Murray with the 23rd selection.

They obtained that pick from the New England Patriots in exchange for their second- and third-round choices.

General manager Tom Telesco called it “a very rewarding day for us.”

Herbert called being selected by the Chargers “such an incredible opportunity.” The team bid farewell in March to Philip Rivers, their starting quarterback since 2006. Rivers signed with the Indianapolis Colts as a free agent.

“Words can’t describe how excited and thrilled, and fired up I am for this opportunity,” Herbert said from his family’s home in Eugene, Ore.

Herbert completed his Oregon career by being selected as the Rose Bowl’s offensive player of the game. He ran for three touchdowns, including the go-ahead score midway through the fourth quarter, in a 28-27 victory over Wisconsin.

Before the Rose Bowl, Herbert was selected as the Ducks’ recipient of the Tournament of Roses Scholar-Athlete Award. He also won the William V. Campbell Trophy, considered the “academic Heisman,” which honors academic and athletic success along with leadership and community achievement.

Herbert’s highlights at Oregon include being the second quarterback in program history with 95 touchdown passes and 10,541 passing yards.

Telesco described him as “a big, fast, dual-threat quarterback with plenty of room to grow.”

Telesco said Tyrod Taylor “is in the driver seat” to be the Chargers starting quarterback in 2020.

“You would never tell anybody that there’s no competition,” he added, hedging on giving Taylor the job outright.

Telesco said “it takes a lot” to trade up for a player, but the Chargers did so for Murray because he is “someone we had rated very high and we just think he fits our defense to a tee.”

“He’s long, he’s fast, he’s physical and plays with a really violent mentality,” Telesco said.

The GM added, “I think as he grows and matures, he’ll be a leader here at some point down the road.”

Murray started all 42 games in his three seasons with Oklahoma. He was the Sooners’ first true freshman to start a season opener at inside linebacker since 1975.

Murray was a third-team All-America selection by The Associated Press in 2019 when he made 102 tackles and 17 tackles for losses, both team highs.

“My biggest quality is my work ethic,” Murray said. “I’m a guy that is going to come in and set the tone.”

The coronavirus pandemic forced the NFL to cancel plans to conduct the draft in Las Vegas.  Selections took place via videoconferencing from the homes of team executives.

Telesco made the Chargers’ selections from his home in Newport Beach. Their next pick comes in the fourth round.

– City News Service

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