For the Los Angeles Chargers, the 2018 offseason could provide the franchise the boost it needs to make the playoffs. Top-tier players litter the defense and with Philip Rivers surrounded by solid weapons, the Bolts will again be a trendy pick to win the AFC West.
The NFL Draft is just about two months away and Draft pundits are churning out their mock drafts prior to free agency. There is still plenty of time for those mocks to completely change of course.
However, it seems like the experts have begun to slim down the options for the Chargers. Los Angeles is likely to add a body on the offensive or defensive front or add a safety to solidify the back end.
Here is the latest from mock drafts around the web:
Dan Kadar (SBNation): S Derwin James (Florida State)
Some teams may view James as a linebacker, and the Chargers could be one of them. With the two best defensive tackles and linebackers gone, James could be the next man up. He makes more sense to the Chargers than someone like Alabama’s Rashaan Evans because of his coverage ability.
Adrian Phillips played a ton of linebacker last season. James would likely be an upgrade and with Gus Bradley’s track record with box safeties, James is an intriguing prospect. James has gained a ton of steam of late and has shot up draft boards, if the Chargers can steal him at 17, it may be one of the biggest wins come Draft night.
Mike Tanier (BleacherReport.com): DT Vita Vea (Washington)
Vea has been featured in the roundups more than any other player. The notion is that the Chargers have two premiere edge rushers, however the interior of the defensive line was brutal in 2017. Adding a presence in the middle would solve a ton of issues on run defense and allow Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram to thrive.
Will Brinson (CBSSports.com): OT Isaiah Wynn (Georgia)
The Chargers made a habit of drafting high floor guys who could help out Philip Rivers immediately and Wynn would qualify as well. Getting Forrest Lamp back and adding Wynn would give a beleaguered line additional help
A new name has entered the fold in Wynn. Another offensive tackle prospect that could help round out an improved offensive line. It would certainly be a win-now investment and should help open up holes for Melvin Gordon on the right side.
Charles Davis (NFL.com): S Derwin James (Florida State)
James is a big hitter, but he has plenty of range in coverage, as well. He might not be exactly like former Charger Eric Weddle, but he could provide a similar impact.
Year three of the “Chargers need to find a replacement for Eric Weddle” narrative. It still probably holds true, Los Angeles may not want to invest much in Tre Boston and will need to line someone up next to Jahleel Addae.
Luke Easterling (Draftwire.USAToday.com): OT Connor Williams (Texas)
Williams has made a few appearances before and is another top tackle prospect. He is a monster of a man listed at 6’6”, 320 pounds. Although some see him as a future left tackle, he will likely spend a few years at right tackle if he ends up in Los Angeles.
Jud Branam (Drafttek.com): S Derwin James (Florida State)
Earl Thomas. Kam Chancellor. Now Derwin James. Chargers’ D Coordinator Gus Bradley has a proven track record developing uber-talented safeties into game-changing forces, and he figures to be delighted to have a new pupil like James
Similar to earlier analysis, Bradley worked with two of the NFL’s best safeties. His stock has risen to the point where he may not be on the board at 17, but the thought of Bradley getting another chance to work with an elite talent at safety should bring joy to Chargers fans.