The Chargers are headed to the postseason! While the franchise might be out of the race for the AFC West division, the Bolts have punched their ticket to a date in January and a chance to head to Atlanta for Super Bowl 53.
The Bolts offseason however will be one to keep an eye on. With multiple stars heading towards the free agent market, Tom Telesco and his staff will have to do a good job making the draft and free agent market a memorable one. One way the Chargers can start their homework is by watching the bowl games heading into the holidays.
Week 3 of Bowlmania is about to begin and Week’s 1 and 2 did not disappoint. With more players looking to make their NFL mark, Jake Hefner comes out strong to help with another addition of Blooming Bolts. This time is a bit different than last. With more teams playing this week, we don’t want you reading and missing out on prospects that could help turn Los Angeles into a power-house moving forward. Instead of doing all of Week 3, this article will just feature games on December 26th and 27th. We will have the next slew of games out Friday morning for all of you to enjoy. Hopefully theses prospects make the final cut of the Chargers’ big board.
First Responder Bowl
Boise State: QB Brett Rypien
When will the succession plan begin for life after Philip Rivers? The Chargers have not drafted a quarterback since they selected Brad Sorensen in the 7th round back in 2013. Boise State QB Brett Rypien is a sleeper prospect with interesting potential. As a 50 game starter for the Broncos, Rypien completed 1,035 passes for 13,578 yards and 90 touchdowns. At 6-foot-2, 202 pounds, Rypien is a traditional “pocket” quarterback displaying good mechanics and nice touch on his throws. He does, however, have a tendency to stare down his receivers and take unnecessary sacks.
But when he has time, Rypien is capable of driving the ball down the field with good accuracy. The young quarterback will have an additional opportunity to elevate his draft stock at the East West Shrine Game in the coming weeks.
Boston College: DL Zach Allen
The Chargers will need to address their pass rush a tad on the outside this season. While Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram are cornerstone pieces, adding depth could allow the franchise to worry less about another position group if they feel the draft class and free agent pool is weak.
Allen’s final season for the Eagles is one he’ll remember for quite some time. With 15 tackles for losses and a career high 6.5 sacks, Allen does a great job maneuvering past offensive linemen and working towards the quarterback. Best at a five technique, the 6-5’ defender can play outside or kick in on heavy pass rush packages. With great work ethic and a non-stop motor, Allen would be a nice day 2 selection to add to the Chargers front line.
Quick Lane Bowl
Georgia Tech: Edge Anree Saint-Amour
Saint-Amour is an interesting prospect that plays with a physical style and a consistent motor. His breakout year with the Yellow Jackets came this season as Saint-Amour posted 45 tackles, eleven for loss and 4.5 sacks. Possessing decent size (6’3, 245lbs) and length, Saint-Amour is still very Raw in his skill set.
When evaluating Saint-Amour’s game, the biggest question will be in regards to position fit. He doesn’t have the speed to play as an OLB but is also too light to produce as a defensive end in the NFL. Saint-Amour will gain favor with teams for his attitude and physical traits, but projects as a rookie free agent.
Minnesota: DE Carter Coughlin
The Chargers should fix their defensive line in the draft both early and late. Having a pass rush makes a good defense great and allows a team to not have to fix every other need in a single draft. Bosa and Ingram are great but their unit behind him has been lackluster this season.
Coughlin might not declare but if he does, he’s the best player on the Minnesota roster. An excellent pass rusher, Coughlin has finished the past two season with double-digit tackle for losses season and is just half a sack away from finishing with 10 takedowns on the year. Excellent on the outside, the junior defender swipes his opponent away and quickly drags opponents down behind the line of scrimmage. While he’s very raw, Coughlin would be a nice day-2 pickup if the free agent pool works out in the Chargers’ favor.
TCU: Edge Ben Banogu
Banogu has been a huge contributor since joining the Horned Frogs defense in 2017. Over the past two seasons, Banogu has recorded 107 total tackles, 33.5 for loss and 16 sacks. At 6-foot-4 and 250 pounds, Banogu is versatile enough to rush the passer from multiple positions along the defensive line. He plays physical off of the edge with good athleticism and the speed to chase down runners. Banogu uses his length well on the rush when shedding blocks from offensive lineman.
He is not the most polished pass rusher and will need to add a broader arsenal to his hand movement techniques. Banogu will need to display some refinement during draft evaluations and will have to test well to determine what position he is best suited for at the next level. Whether its as a defensive end or an outside linebacker, Banogu projects as a mid-round pick.
California: LB Alex Funches
The Bolts’ linebacker room is in need of an overhaul after the season. Denzel Perryman is likely heading to free agency while Jatavis Brown might be the only solid starting option after coming around mid-year. While Kyzir White was a solid WILL backer during his playing time, injuries could ruin a young player’s career.
The Golden Bears have little to no draft eligible players worth selecting in this upcoming draft season but if there’s one to look at on day-3, Funches would be the selection. The senior linebacker has started for two seasons and collected 69 total tackles during his time. Best used as a SAM backer, Funches attacks the line of scrimmage and is thriving when stopping the run. A gap stopper, the Golden Bear could be a nice special teams player while learning Gus Bradley’s defense.
Temple: CB Rock Ya-Sin
A transfer from Presbyterian College, Ya-Sin’s production has created plenty of buzz among NFL scouts. In 2018, he made 47 tackles, 12 passes defended, and two interceptions. While those stats may not sound earth shattering, Ya-Sin only allowed just over half of the completions that were thrown in his direction. He finished with the second-highest overall grade among cornerbacks according to Pro Football Focus. At 6’2, 190 pounds, Ya-Sin is able to contend with bigger receivers.
He displays good ball skills and plays with an attitude. As one of the best defensive prospects for the Owls, Ya-Sin has a great opportunity to be a high-upside mid-round selection. The Chargers cornerbacks have regressed as a unit since last season and the team should be in the market for another addition in the draft.
Duke: QB Daniel Jones
If Philip Rivers is going to continue to play for Los Angeles, Tom Telesco should consider at least trying to find a better Garrett Grayson. Grayson fizzled out during his time in New Orleans but the Saints were willing to use a mid-round selection to see what their future could potentially hold. If Jones falls to the late second round, he should be in play for the future.
Perhaps the most River-esque quarterback in the draft, Jones has been one, if not the only, reason the Blue Devils even made a bowl game this season. At 6’5, Jones fits the mold of what many call the “prototypical quarterback”, but he also has the arm strength and mobility to take matters into his own hands by running on busted plays. While his accuracy will need some work, as will his decision-making, Jones is possibly the most gritty quarterback in the class.
Wisconsin: OT David Edwards
This is an easy grade. The Chargers are moving forward with Rivers and will need to protect him the best they can. While their interior is a bigger problem, Sam Tevi could shift back inside and take over at offensive guard should the Bolts want to address their right tackle needs. With the release of Joe Barksdale, Los Angeles should really consider drafting an offensive tackle with their first pick come April.
A key blocker up front for starting running back Jonathan Taylor, the former quarterback turned right 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.
Vanderbilt: CB Joejuan Williams
Williams will be an intriguing prospect to monitor over the next few months. Standing 6-foot-4 and 210 pounds, Williams is one of the biggest defensive prospects in this upcoming draft. Announcing that he will be forgoing his senior season back in November, Williams finishes his tenure with the Commodores registering 114 total tackles, four interceptions and 22 passes defended. Physical and athletic, he muscles receivers off their routes to contend throws. He shows his best work as a press corner, displaying good ball skills and is very good in run support.
His tackling ability, while decent, needs to be refined as Williams will occasionally go too high when he attempts to wrap up receivers. His down field speed will be a focal point during draft evaluations as he is not a burner and not too fast off of the snap. Williams projects more as a developmental prospect but with time, his size, length and physicality could allow him to grow into a starter.
Baylor: WR Jalen Hurd
The Bolts wide receiver room could be willing to add another face this offseason depending on corresponding moves. Tyrell Williams will be wanting a lucrative contract and Los Angeles hasn’t been known in the past to pay their pass catchers. Travis Benjamin had one good game but still has had a horrendous season. Outside of Mike Williams and Keenan Allen, no one is really safe.
Hurd fits the exact mold that could replace Williams as a late round selection. At 6’4 and great speed, Hurd has natural hands from his time as a do-it-all running back for Tennessee. A YAC-machine, the former Vols star averaged 13.7 yards per catch and did a great job working through traffic to collect first downs for the Bears offense. While he’s questionable to play against Vanderbilt, if he does, his red zone capability is going to be a difference-maker for Baylor. A sixth-round pick is worth it for the Bolts offense.