The 2017 combine is almost upon us which means we're almost full go into the draft season. Before that, it's time to take a quick look back at what Tom Telesco and the Chargers did in the final draft as the "San Diego Chargers".
Round 1 - Pick 3: Joey Bosa
From a fans point of view, this pick seemed to be between Jalen Ramsey, DeForest Buckner, and Joey Bosa but the Chargers knew early on that Bosa would be their guy. The defensive rookie of the year, the new face of the defense, and maybe the face of the franchise in waiting? Due to the team's incapability’s (the less said about that the better) Bosa only played 12 games in 2016 but recorded 41 total tackles, 10.5 sacks, 17.5 TFLs and 19 QB hits. He played a mixture of outside linebacker and defensive end in the Charger's 2016 3-4 scheme. With the change of scheme to 4-3 and the Chargers putting the franchise tag on Melvin Ingram, Bosa will be penciled in as the two-gap defensive end, where he should flourish.
Round 2 - Pick 35: Hunter Henry
A slightly surprising pick given the team's needs but Henry looks like the successor to the future Hall of Famer, Antonio Gates. Hunter Henry totaled an impressive 8 touchdowns on the year as well as excelling in run blocking. His blocking played a part in helping Melvin Gordon find his feet in 2016, maybe more so than someone who was drafted to directly impact Melvin's play, but I'll comment on that later. He was often used as a lead blocker and almost like a 6th offensive lineman at times. Henry is already a far better blocker than Gates ever was which means he can bring a different wrinkle to the Chargers offense.
Round 3 - pick 66: Max Tuerk
Tuerk's progress this year is very hard to gauge, he was in the middle of recovering from an ACL injury when the draft came along so wasn't expected to play much part of the 2016 season. As well as this, the signing of Matt Slauson meant Tuerk was given the chance to ease back into football an get to know the playbook. With Slauson being far and away the best OL for the Chargers last year (not difficult, I know) it's hard to know where he can fit in next year. He also has the problem of UDFA Spencer Pulley, who became the backup center ahead of Tuerk. Pulley impressed everyone last year with his limited time at guard as well as at center. Tuerk may have to deal with another year on the sideline.
Round 4 - pick 102: Joshua Perry
Joshua Perry might have become the forgotten player in this class. With Manti Te'o going down early in the season, it was a chance to make a claim but instead he got jumped by fellow rookie Jatavis Brown and Korey Toomer, a mid season pickup from the Raiders. Perry did begin to increase his snaps on defense later on in the year, earning them after making an impact on special teams.
Round 5 - Pick 175: Jatavis Brown
The steal of the draft. The speedy undersized linebacker type is almost becoming a fashion in the NFL and here is the Chargers’ example. Brown showed real playmaking ability in coverage and in the run game. Like Bosa, Brown played 12 games and had 79 total tackles, 3.5 sacks, 2 forced fumbles and 6 pass deflections. A very different backer to ones Chargers' fans were used to seeing, one that can react and diagnose quickly to make plays (I see you Donald Bulter and Manti Te'o). Between Perry, Brown and Korey Toomer, if resigned, the Chargers have a nice trio that will fit into Gus Bradley's new defense.
Round 6 - Pick 179: Drew Kaser
Straight after this pick, it was announced that the Chargers would be cutting veteran Mike Scrifes who, if we're all being honest, was on the decline, so this was not exactly a surprise pick. Kaser was the first punter off the board but had a very up and down season, mostly the later. A play that comes to mind is when he booted a punt straight down the middle of the field to Tyreek Hill, arguably the league's best returner, and Hill took it all the way back with ease. More mental errors like that and Kaser might not last much longer.
Round 6 - Pick 198: Derek Watt
"Get Melvin a fullback to run behind!", is probably the most used phrase I saw on twitter last offseason, and those fans got their wish. Not only did they pick a fullback, but they picked up Gordon's former teammate at Wisconsin. However, Watt was the worst rated FB in Pro Football Focus' rankings. A positive for Watt (which may keep him on the roster) is his contribution on special teams as he made a number of plays throughout the season.
Round 7 - Pick 224: Donavon Clark
Injured in preseason, yet did show so promise in the limited snaps he got and also created some buzz in training camp. Depending upon how the Chargers go about their business, keeping or replacing Fluker and Franklin, Clark could be fighting for some time on the field in 2017.
Even after only a year, this has to be considered as Telesco's best draft to date. A star in Bosa, and two big contributors in Henry and Brown. There's still lots of time for the likes of Perry and Tuerk to show their worth too.