We are officially five weeks from day one of the NFL Draft which, to me, can’t get here fast enough.
College football film is currently running through my veins and I could give you the in’s and out’s of almost any draft-able offensive linemen in this year’s class (I am the OL scout for another publication).
While attempting to help put together an official draft guide for this publication, it has taken me away from my family here at BFTB and I thought I would stop in to remind everyone I am still here by listing out some thoughts and remarks on the team regarding their draft needs and who could be potential targets with our first-round selection.
What is the more pressing need?
Although this is only the second year in which I’ve covered the NFL Draft, I can’t recall a draft in recent memory with as much confusion regarding the path the Chargers should take in their first three rounds.
When the 2017 season officially ended, I couldn’t seem to pinpoint a single position or two that was in desperate need of a first round pick. At least, desperate enough to really create some distance among the other lacking position groups.
Should they go with a defensive tackle?
If so, should we commit a top pick to replacing the aging Brandon Mebane at nose tackle or do they put some draft capital into a guy who can perform at the 3-technique the way they hoped Corey Liuget would?
Vita Vea out of the University of Washington is a mammoth of a man and could be the key cog in reinforcing that interior defensive line. Measuring in at 6’4 and 347 pounds during the NFL combine, he also ran an eye-popping 5.10 in the forty yard dash while also putting up 41 reps in the bench press.
University of Michigan defensive tackle Maurice Hurst was recently diagnosed with a heart condition while in Indianapolis. This will surely create some murkiness over his NFL future yet some pundits still believe Hurst is the only interior defensive linemen worth a first-round selection in this year’s draft.
At a smidge over 6’1 and 296 pounds, Hurst is quite a bit smaller than Vea. Hurst would most likely play the 3-tech yet I wouldn’t be surprised to see Hurst get moved anywhere along the interior. By far the best penetrating iDL in this class, Hurst exhibits a motor that never quits paired with a knack for squeezing by much larger offensive linemen.
Should they go with an inside linebacker?
It is a night-and-day difference when Denzel Perryman is on or off the field for the Bolts’ defense. Without Perryman, defensive coordinator Gus Bradley was forced to give the reigns over to former Jacksonville practice squad member Hayes Pullard, one of the worst graded defensive players in the entire league during the ‘17 season.
I still have my hopes up for Jatavis Brown to regain/build off his stellar rookie campaign but the Chargers could very well look to address this position in round one, especially given the talent at the top of the position. Virginia Tech’s Tremaine Edmunds, Georgia’s Roquan Smith, and Alabama’s Rashaan Evans are all worthy of top-15 picks.
Unfortunately, it’s unrealistic that Edmunds and Smith would fall to the Bolt’s pick at 17. However, Evans (6’3 232 lbs.) is just as much a talent at the position and would bring some refreshing size and play-making ability to the linebacker core that has been sorely missing for some time.
Should they go with a safety?
It’s a widely known fact that GM Tom Telesco does not value the safety position in a light that brings fans hope he would ever draft one in the first round. It would be even more of a shock if he were to trade up for one, which is unfortunately the only way I could see the Bolts getting a top player at the position.
However, Florida State safety Derwin James is an incredible talent. Just take a look at his performance in Indy:
- 6’3 215 lbs.
- 4.47 40
- 21 reps on the bench press
- 40 in. vertical
- 11’ broad jump
If there was any player in the draft I would be content with trading up for (besides Baker Mayfield), it would be James. The idea of that size and athleticism on the back end complimenting the team’s righteous trio at cornerback...come on now.
What a dream.
What about another offensive linemen?
There are a plethora of talented and instant-impact offensive linemen in this class. But does this make sense for the Bolts after taking back-to-back picks out on Forrest Lamp and Dan Feeney in last year’s draft?
Well, this depends on where they feel Feeney and Lamp should play along the line in 2018.
There have been rumblings regarding the possibility of Feeney playing center this year. Another rumor down the grapevine is the idea of playing Lamp out at right tackle. Now, I’m not opposed to any of these ideas as this interior offensive line class is incredibly deep and I’d be all for making room inside for at least one of these studs.
A player such as Georgia’s Isaiah Wynn comes to mind as an addition that could pay lasting dividends in the future success of the team’s offensive line. Wynn has played, and succeeded, at left tackle his entire career with the Bulldogs against all rhyme or reason that he is far too short to play the position (6’2 3/8”).
Wynn was by far the best offensive linemen in Mobile for the Senior Bowl and looks to be moving inside going forward into the NFL. He wasn’t able to perform in Indianapolis due to a recently surgically-repaired labrum but, on film, looks to be one of the most athletically-gifted linemen in the draft. After all, with his lack of length, he still managed to hold down the blindside for one of the best teams in the country.
You know, SEC speed and all that blah blah blah.
In conclusion, Wynn would bring a dynamic presence to the interior of the offensive line that could flourish in Coach Anthony Lynn’s multiple run offense.