Where were you when English was drafted?
Personally, I just came out of my "office" thinking I had a good 20 minutes before we would hear Larry's name announced in the 20s or so. I walk out and my roommate tells me what happened. "BS" I tell him. I consistently doubt him until I see it with my own two eyes. The 16th pick in the NFL Draft? Never in my wildest dreams would I have though that any NIU player would achieve this.
Congrats to the Buffalo News on being one (and only?) of the scant few predicting English to go that high to the Chargers. I sure as hell didn't think he would go there. Neither did Larry himself. English said the contact was limited between him and the Chargers ever since the Combine ended.
Imagine how you must have felt as a San Diego Chargers fan at that point. Sure you're not in LA, but USC country extends throughout all of Southern California. OLB Brian Cushing goes a pick before at #15. His teammate Clay Matthews was expected to go right up there with him, but fell along with Rey Maualuga. Even Tennessee's Robert Ayers dropped to #18 to the Broncos. San Diego management thought different. Shouldn't Chargers fans know who he is or about the team he played for? NIU even played in the Poinsettia Bowl in Qualcomm Stadium back in 2007. We got destroyed by TCU and English had to work all season to come back from a knee injury that he endured in that game. The next season NIU went 2-10 and LE still won the MAC MVP. Also, didn't San Diego draft emerging superstar RB Michael Turner out of NIU back in 2004?
It really impresses me that Chargers GM A.J. Smith would go this way and pick Larry English. Obviously, this decision had nothing to do with PR, but more to do with improving his defense and preparing more depth and pressure San Diego for the upcoming season. Larry English was the only player to be picked in the 1st round from a non-BCS school.
The biggest gripe I ever see about Larry English was that he played in the Mid-American Conference. Larry just didn't play in the MAC, he DOMINATED it for the past 4 years. He was (and probably forever will be) the only defensive player to win the MAC MVP 2 years in a row. Pundits fail to point out that he had some of his best games against BCS schools like Northwestern, Ohio State, Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Tennessee. Do I even need to start listing the players that have excelled in the NFL from the MAC like Super Bowl Champs QB Ben Roethlisberger (Miami) and LB James Harrison (Kent)? It's sad, really.
He went through the combine just like all the other prospects and excelled. He also had a great senior bowl against the top talent coming out in the draft. Don't diss a guy for making the choice to experience more playing time as a large fish in a small pond. English did have a late offer to play at Iowa, but turned it down as he was already committed to the Huskies.
Impact in San Diego
Larry English couldn't have been put in to a better situation. San Diego already has two great Outside Linebackers in Shawne Merriman and Shaun Phillips. Some think that Merriman may not be ready for this upcoming season because of his knee surgery last year and that English may be the eventual replacement for "Lights Out". The Southern Cal Bolts are consistenly a Super Bowl contender year-in and year out, so English will get plenty of exposure as well as learn from some of the best defensive players in the league. San Diego needs pressure on defense to help the passing game and English can provide that.
Call it the "New York Giants syndrome". Their picking apart of Tom Brady in the Super Bowl two years ago has put a premium on rushing the passer. The Steelers did the same thing just this past year winning their title against the Cardinals. Merriman is happy about the pick and can't wait to bring the heat this upcoming season.
Impact in Dekalb
A first-rounder coming out of Northern Illinois? There hasn't been this much recruiting ammo since beating up on Maryland and Alabama back in 2003. I'm positive recruiting coordinator PJ Fleck is hitting these recruits over the head with Larry English articles as we speak. This is especially exciting, because the 'Old Guard' of Huskies in the NFL like DT Hollis Thomas and WR Justin McCareins near closer to being out of the league.
Coach Kill must be smiling. He makes it to a bowl game and has Larry English play for him in just his first year! You can't ask more from a guy that has in the past produced NFL products in Giants RB Brandon Jacobs and Jets LB Bart Scott. All the doors have been opening for the Huskies lately and the talent on future Huskie squads can only go up after this extremely proud moment in NIU History.
LARRY ENGLISH LINK ROUNDUP
Chargers take English in first round of NFL draft (Aurora Beacon News)
Local linebackers in faraway land (ESPN Chicago)
Chargers take English with 16th pick (Examiner)
Chargers Make English 16th Pick in NFL Draft (NIUHuskies.com)
English goes No. 16 in NFL Draft (Chicago Tribune)
San Diego Coverage
Larry English interview transcript (San Diego Union-Tribune)
Chargers draft defense; Merriman on notice (San Diego News Network)
Selection is a defensive move - in more ways than one? (SD Union-Tribune)
If English can apply pressure, Chargers will feel less of it (SD Union-Tribune)
Linebacker English drafted with first pick (North County Times)
A Saturday surprise: Smith selects English to 'bring the heat'' (SD Union-Tribune)
Larry English leaves behind impressive legacy at NIU (Northern Star)
Draft pick works out well for Larry English (Northern Star)
English selected No. 16 by Chargers (Daily Chronicle)
English bolting to San Diego (Daily Chronicle)
Videos from Chargers.com