Brenden Rice may have tough time justifying Hall of Fame father's draft comments

Jerry Rice can be mad about Brenden Rice slipping into Round 7 of the NFL Draft, but will the son of the GOAT have a context that'll prove everyone wrong about his draft pedigree?
Hall of Famer Jerry Rice with his son, Brenden Rice at the NFL Combine
Hall of Famer Jerry Rice with his son, Brenden Rice at the NFL Combine / Kara Durrette/GettyImages

Jerry Rice was livid at his son, Brenden Rice, slipping into Round 7 of the NFL Draft. But the younger Rice may be challenged to justify the reaction.

Hall of Fame wide receiver Jerry Rice was not pleased about his son, former USC wideout Brenden Rice, falling all the way into Round 7 of the 2024 NFL Draft.

The Los Angeles Chargers ultimately selected the younger Rice at No. 225 overall, proving that prospects projected to be selected on day three of the draft can go at any point between Rounds 4 and 7.

Or undrafted.

Plenty of draft pundits felt the USC product could have been grabbed as soon as the fourth round, perhaps by a team like the San Francisco 49ers in a desire to have a legacy player following in his father's footsteps.

Instead, Rice was picked toward the very end of the draft.

"My dad was hot," the rookie told ESPN about his legendary father's reaction to the draft slide. "You guys get the flash like ... the humble dude, right? Me, he's like, 'Hell no, we're going to take this to a different level. These guys going to feel us.'"

Granted, playing with a proverbial "chip on the shoulder" can be a good thing, and Rice can inevitably use that "prove everyone wrong" motivation.

But, will the Bolts provide the best context?

Can Brenden Rice back up Jerry Rice's reaction to draft snubbing?

On a positive, Rice gets to play with one of the NFL's best young quarterbacks in the game right now, Justin Herbert. And Los Angeles should be reinvigorated after hiring another name familiar to Niners fans, Jim Harbaugh, as head coach.

LA's wide receiver depth chart is primed for opportunity, too, as that was one of the numerous positions that needed serious attention entering 2024. Theoretically, Rice could be in hot contention for one of the top-three wideout spots on the depth chart.

But the context positives mostly end there.

Again, as many a San Francisco fan can recall, Harbaugh reunites with an offensive coordinator, Greg Roman, who is notorious for run-heavy offenses. During his four-year 49ers tenure under Harbaugh, Roman's offense producted a 1,000-yard receiver just three times (Michael Crabtree in 2012, and Anquan Boldin in 2013 and 2014).

The challenge of producing receiving-heavy stats followed Roman to the Baltimore Ravens, too.

Even if Los Angeles is aiming to feature Herbert and the passing attack in a bigger fashion, the focus is much likelier to center on fellow rookie wide receiver Ladd McConkey, whom the Chargers grabbed early in Round 2 with the 34th overall pick.

McConkey, not Rice, seems to be the odds-on favorite to lead the Bolts in receiving over the next few years.

Now, this doesn't mean the GOAT's son winds up flopping. Far from it. He could end up having a solid start to his NFL career, perhaps as a tertiary target.

However, in Roman's system, that's not exactly a role that'll make fans and pundits wonder at just how and why Rice fell into Round 7 of the draft after putting up gaudy numbers early in.

Niners fans know it. Chargers fans may soon find out.

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