Another week, another game.
The Los Angeles Chargers will return from their much needed bye week and prepare to start the second half of the season. With nine more games for the Bolts to catch up with Kansas City and their flame-throwing cannon quarterback known as Patrick Mahomes, it’s never too early to begin looking forward towards the future.
During Tuesday’s trade deadline, the Chargers stayed put with their current roster they have in place. Sure, was it a risky move by general manager Tom Telesco? Naturally. Could it come back a kick Philip Rivers and his surprise offense in the keister? Of course.
But Chargers fans, outside of maybe a free safety and depth at several positions, Telesco didn’t feel they were in need of adjusting any place of their roster. Instead, coach Antony Lynn will need to prove to the fans and himself that he can coach any roster to a season of success and promise towards the future.
With that in mind, the Chargers still sit currently with the 28th overall pick heading into next year’s NFL Draft if the season ended today. Sure, while the Bolts will need to win out this season and make a playoff push, that’s the highest they’ve selected since their playoff return back since the 2014 season.
Many people criticized the fact that last wee I did not address the offensive line woes or middle linebacker needs with Denzel Perryman’s contract about to expire. If you did the research, you would know that any player who could fit in Gus Bradley’s talented defense or any tackle worth taking round 1 was on a bye last weekend.
That changes this week as several teams fighting for the College Football Playoff will be front and center, preparing for battle if in conference foes. From offensive tackles to tackling machine linebackers, expect to see some premier talent on for full display.
Since Charger readers feel as if we at BFTB don’t hear their request to interact with them, let’s see if we can make everyone happy this week. Check out several names on either side of the ball to keep an eye out for come Saturday morning.
LSU LB Devin White vs. #1 Alabama
Everyone loves to say the Chargers need a linebacker. They’re not completely incorrect with that statement at the moment. With Perryman in a contract year, he could be looking for work somewhere else next season. Even if the team re-signs him to a small contract, outside of Kyzir White, there’s little promise for a second thumper on the Chargers defense.
White could fix that problem in a matter of seconds. There’s good news and bad news though when scouting the Bayou Bengal this weekend. The good; he’s tackling machine that reads offensive lines well and has range in coverage. The 20-year-old middle linebacker has collected 76 tackles with four pass breakups this season. The bad; he’s suspended the first half of the game following a targeting hit against Mississippi State.
Should White show weakness against Alabama’s high tempo offense, his draft stock could begin to slide. As of now, the potential Butkis Award winning linebacker should be a top 15 lock. If however he does show weakness in coverage, Bradley should be able to work well with the young linebacker and turn him either into a MIKE or SAM back similar to his methods with Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Myles Jack.
Wisconsin OT David Edwards vs. Rutgers
Some people might be asking why Alabama’s Jonah Williams isn’t the tackle worth watching this weekend. He is but he’ll be long gone before the Chargers are on the clock. With one year left on his current contract following the season, oft-injured Joe Barksdale could be let go this offseason to clear cap space for a massive free agent signing, right tackle will become a glaring need to address early on.
While Williams is a pure left tackle at the next level, Edwards might be better suited on the right side. A lead blocker from start running back Jonathan Taylor, the former quarterback turned left tackle has great speed, a long frame to extend his body in blocks and will be aggressive in the trenches. While still in need for better footwork in pass protection, Edwards has the size and speed to reach second level defenders as a lead blocker in the run game. If defensive line and secondary options are out, Edwards should be on Telesco’s short list.
Michigan LB Devin Bush vs. #14 Penn State
Let’s say the Chargers ignore the safety position again this offseason. Let’s say they want speed in the pass rush over safety in coverage. White could move over to the SAM backer position, leaving the WILL open for business. In today’s league, WILL’s need to hit like a linebacker and cover like a strong safety.
That description fits Bush almost to a perfect tip. When thinking of Bush, think of Panther’s linebacker Shaq Thompson, good in run support and strong in coverage. The rangy linebacker has done a great job defending the pass against tight ends and slot receivers. This season, the Wolverine hybrid has collected 39 total tackles and boosted his blitzing skills with four sacks. As Big Blue looks to ruffle Trace McSorely and the Nittany Lions offense, Bush could be an x-factor for the Wolverine defense Saturday night.
Miami S Jaquan Johnson vs. Duke
The Bolts would be smart to invest in a safety at some point of next year’s draft if they pass during free agency. Jaheel Addee hasn’t cut it at free safety while Derwin James has thrived near the line of safety. Playing James out of position next season would be a waste of his talent so the rangier player on the back end the better.
Johnson hasn’t impressed much this season, making him probably a second round draft pick up at the moment. That being said, in coverage few have been better out in the ACC. Known for his high coverage ability, Johnson excels mirroring players downfield and taking away a team’s deep threat in coverage. While not the biggest player on the field, the Hurricane defender isn’t afraid to lay down the hammer and attack ball carriers against the run.
With Duke quarterback Daniel Jones looking to improve his draft stock, Johnson should make an impact eliminating the deep ball come Saturday.
Oklahoma WR Marquise Brown vs. Texas Tech
The Bolts could bring back Tyrell Williams this offseason but many around this site know where this is probably going. Yes, Travis Benjamin is a bust that that’s not the receiver worth mentioning. With Kennan Allen being the solid possession receiver and Mike Williams turning into the big red zone threat, the Bolts could consider using a mid-round pick on a speed receiver on the outside.
Nicknamed “Hollywood” for his flashy playing style and ability to work upfield after the catch, Brown could be a solid day 2 option if the Chargers can find some depth at other positions of need. Brown has great speed off the snap and can win battles at the line of scrimmage in man coverage. Following the catch, the Sooner product does a great job weaving his way through traffic while averaging 18.5 yards per reception. If the Chargers do move on from Williams, packaging a few picks together to move up and find Rivers a solid slot receiver isn’t the worst idea.
Notre Dame CB Julian Love vs. Northwestern
While the Williams on the offensive side of the ball could be looking for work next season on another team, so could the Williams on defense. With Trevor in a restricted free agent contract this season, a team could sign an offer sheet that the Chargers refuse to pay. Casey Hayward is 29 and will be 32 when his contract expires. As much as Bolts fans love Verrett, his consistent injury issues is going to be a problem when it’s time to negotiate contracts.
While cornerback might be better targeted on day 2, Love’s status might be hard to ignore if the Chargers stay put at pick 28. While his 5-11 frame might not be suited for larger receivers, Love fits Bradley’s mold in coverage and does a solid job defending the pass. Solid speed and great processing, the Irish standout does a great job deciphering plays and creating tension in coverage that lead to turnovers. Quarterback Clayton Thorson has struggled this season and will be given no freebies this weekend against Love and the Fighting Irish defense.