Morning Links: Most impactful rookies

Good Morning. Longtime NFL scout Gil Brandt, writing for the league’s website, says the San Diego Chargers have had the most impactful rookie class this season.

“The Chargers drafted three players who have made serious contributions as rookies, beginning with offensive tackle D.J. Fluker (drafted in the first round, 11th overall). From Day 1, Fluker has started for an offensive line that has been much better than it was prior to his arrival, leading to a stronger ground game and increased protection for Philip Rivers. In a resurgent season, San Diego's quarterback has been sacked just 11 times through seven games; that projects to 25 sacks on the season, which would be about half as many as Rivers endured in 2012 (49).”

Michael Lev of The Orange County Register writes that Ryan Mathews finally is playing up to his potential.

ESPN’s Dan Graziano has Rivers down a spot at No. 5 of his weekly MVP Watch.

Andrew Brandt writing for Sports Illustrated tells why the NFL’s midseason trade deadline is always a dud. Scheme fit and salary-cap concerns are major sticking points.

Will Brinson of CBSSports.com writes that San Diego coach Mike McCoy’s stock is up. Brinson: “There are a lot of teams who have surprised so far in 2013, but it's hard to find a more pleasant surprise than the San Diego Chargers. More specifically: Philip Rivers. McCoy was known as a quarterback whisperer before he took the San Diego job but there was some doubt based on success with Peyton Manning. Rivers reclamation project might be a more impressive work than what McCoy did with Tim Tebow though. He's averaging 8.6 yards per attempt (Rivers led the league in YPA from 2008-2010 while averaging 8.4, 8.8 and 8.7 YPA, respectively) and completing an insane 73.9 percent of his passes. while cutting down on his mistakes.”

Kevin Acee of U-T San Diego writes that the Chargers are winning the new MartyBall way, alluding to former San Diego head coach Marty Schottenheimer’s conservative, efficient approach to winning football games.

Ricky Henne of Chargers.com interviews San Diego general manager Tom Telesco, getting his thought on where the Chargers sit at the midpoint of the 2013 season.