Yesterday, we went over our offensive draft crushes. Today we flip to the other side of the ball.
Aaron Woolley: My defensive crush has to be Malik Hooker. I know that Dwight Lowery isn't the answer, and he's not getting any younger either. Malik Hooker is very raw, but he could come in right away and be an improvement on what we saw last season with Lowery. Hooker has better ball skills and seems to be better in coverage. That being said, he has work that needs to be done on improving his tackling. Either way, I'd be happy with Hooker as the pick at 7.
Thomas Herd: Defensive Tackle Jaleel Johnson, Iowa, is my defensive crush. Johnson is an interior lineman who plays with high intensity with good speed and power. His aggressive nature comes across in the variety of pass rush moves he has available to him. Also, he displays high-quality hands at the point of attack to beat his blockers. He has the ability to hold up and make plays in the run game too because of his strength. I saw him line up at 0,1 and 3 technique last year and he could definitely push Liuget for snaps at the 3-tech, next to Mebane. I'm not too sure on his value but Johnson is probably a day 2 guy with potential to become a long-term starter
Jamie Hoyle: My defensive draft crush hasn't changed since December; it's MSU DT Malik McDowell. While McDowell played mostly 1 and 0 technique in college, he is going to play all over the line in the NFL. He has the size and brute strength to play inside, the athleticism to rush the passer from virtually anywhere, and plays with the mean streak I love. He fits the Chargers new system perfectly and has what I believe is the highest ceiling of any IDL in this class. He's the perfect compliment to Joey Bosa and would make parting ways with Melvin Ingram that much easier, should it come to that.
Garrett Sisti: As much as I'd love to crowbar in my Joe Mathis brand here, I can't because I'm a #GeekForMalik. Malik McDowell can rotate from End to Tackle depending on the Chargers front though more times than not he'll be lined up on the edge. He fires off the line of scrimmage, wins with length to keep himself clean, strength to power through lineman, athleticism (for his size) to bend the edge and run right by guys and we haven't even touched on the fact that he's always the meanest man on the field. McDowell is a chess piece with dominant traits.
Matthew Stanley: my defensive draft crush is Jamal Adams. When I saw Anthony Lynn's quote about Jahleel Addae yesterday, all I could think was that Jamal Adams is who he thinks Addae is. Adams isn't the "impact hitter" that Addae is, but he is better in every other way and plays under control. He has the attitude and "swag" the team wants and needs. He is the play anywhere safety the Chargers lost when they let Eric Weddle walk, with the same on-field intensity and attitude the team loves in Addae. Adams can play up in the box, you can put him on a TE, he's even a stud on special teams both as a gunner and blowing people up as a blocker.
Derrick Browne: I'm going with my favorite player in the draft, Jamal Adams. To keep it short, I feel like he's an immediate upgrade to one of the worst safety groups in the league. He also has that leadership mentality and plays with some fire, which is something this defense desperately needs. He's a great tackler and I don't think he gets enough credit for what he does in coverage. Should be a no-brainer for the Chargers if he's there at 7.
Kyle Posey: I hope the lightning round bros are right and that's a strong hashtag by Garrett. I have 2 guys.My favorite player in the class is a safety. You can get him in the middle rounds and likely get the same production as you would if you spent a premium pick on a safety. I reallllyyy like Jordan Willis out of Kansas State. He's strong, he's athletic, and he's a good football player.
Jake Hefner: I can't argue against the consensus here, It's Jamal Adams. I'll admit, I was on the Malik Hooker bandwagon for a long time and if the Chargers were not able to get Adams, Hooker would be a solid consolation prize. However, Adams is a more complete safety in my opinion, in terms of consistency, experience, tackling efficiency and leadership. He plays fast, physical all over the field and shows good anticipation in his defensive reads. Adams is a prototype safety that shows great instincts and football aggression. While Jason Verrett and Casey Heyward are staples on the outside, at this moment there is no leader in center field. Adams can immediately fill that void in a number of ways.
Ruben J. Gonzalez: I'll sure be happy if Solomon Thomas is there at 7 and the Chargers select him. He's just a pretty sound guy. He can rush the passer; he can stop the run. He's the type that I expect to be an even better pro because of his IQ and motor. I really fell in love with Thomas during the combine. He looked smooth and polished in his drills. He'd be the perfect bookend to Bosa and wouldn't hinder Melvin Ingram when he lines up on his side.
Louis Gorini: ugh I hate to be a follower but I am going to say Jamal Adams is my defensive draft crush. Adams brings so much to the table. He has fantastic instincts and range (apparent when he chased down Lamar Jackson from the backside of the play at the safety position). So he is aggressive against the run, but can he play the pass? The answer is yes! When playing man coverage he routinely shut down the tight ends of the SEC (including OJ Howard). And has shown terrific range in zone coverage. IMO Adams is the safest pick in the draft and what you want in a first round pick is a sure fire thing, Adams is the closest thing to that.
How about you? Who is your draft crush on defense? Let us know.