It’s Draft week!
Will general manager Tom Telesco shock the world and snag the heir apparent to Philip Rivers? Or will Los Angeles beef up their front seven with a nose tackle?
No matter which direction the Bolts choose to go on Draft night, the intrigue is growing by the hour. Los Angeles has a ton of promise and with a division that appears wide open on paper, a productive player in the first round might be the difference.
Here are what the experts think will happen when the Chargers on the clock with the 17th overall pick.
Dan Kadar (SBNation.com): LB Leighton Vander Esch (Boise State)
Offensive or defensive linemen are often the popular choice for the Chargers, but they badly need a middle linebacker. Vander Esch is a stellar athlete that could patrol sideline to sideline as the Chargers’ three-man line in front of him eats up blockers
Vander Esch is a premiere prospect at inside linebacker in the Draft. Although concerns have arisen about his health, he would slide nicely next to Denzel Perryman. Los Angeles needs help at linebacker and as the Draft inches closer, it appears more pundits agree.
Daniel Jeremiah (NFL.com): S Derwin James (Florida State)
This would be a dream pick for the Chargers. James is a top-10 talent in this draft and a perfect scheme fit.
The Chargers still have a massive hole at safety. Tre Boston is still a free agent and it appears Los Angeles is fine with playing the waiting game with the rest of the market. If in some wild scenario James is available when the Chargers are on the clock, it may be too hard for the team to pass up. Like Jeremiah said, James is a top-ten talent and would propel the secondary to become one of the best units on the roster.
Eric Galko (SportingNews.com): QB Josh Rosen (UCLA)
Rosen might experience a minor slide on draft day, and if so, the 49ers of all the teams in the top 10 are most likely to trade down. While the Patriots, Jaguars and Bengals all could make a similar move, the Chargers have been quiet during this draft process and need to start planning for the future.
In this mock the Chargers traded up to grab their next franchise quarterback. Of late, many believe Rosen will slip in the first round and maybe even out of the top ten altogether. Will the Chargers pull the trigger on a trade like this? Probably not, but the intrigue surrounding a quarterback will make the first round selection so much fun.
Peter King (MMQB.com): OT Kolton Miller (UCLA)
Boom or bust guy for a lot of people in this draft. Need pick for the Chargers. Strange that with such a good back, Melvin Gordon, the Chargers struggled so much on the ground last year; they were 32nd in the league in rushing. More importantly, the Chargers need some long-term answers on what’s been a patchwork unit for a few years. They may have to be patient with this one-year starter.
Offensive tackle is one of the biggest needs for the Bolts. Russell Okung proved to be a solid option at left tackle, but Joe Barksdale was banged up last season and the Chargers are due for an upgrade. Miller has appeared in a handful of mocks, but hasn’t been a popular enough pick to be considered a top option for most Chargers supporters.
Tom Fornelli (CBSSports.com): OT Connor Williams (Texas)
The fact that the first OT off the board is at No. 17 tells you everything you need to know about this year’s OT class.
Despite the weak tackle class, the Chargers may still take a chance to add one of the final pieces to their offense. They have the quarterback and the weapons, but Williams would be the final piece to a solid offensive line. Los Angeles was phenomenal in pass protection, but last in the league in rushing, Williams would bring attitude in the run game.
Josh Norris (Rotoworld.com): QB Lamar Jackson (Louisville)
Thus far, Jackson’s draft day projection has placed him among his own tier of quarterbacks and away from the “top” four. The Chargers and Saints have been looking at quarterbacks for multiple drafts. At some point one will pull the trigger. Bucky Brooks’ point of Bill Belichick possibly wanting a mobile quarterback with pocket skills after watching Deshaun Watson is an interesting point.
The “Lamar Jackson Hive” of Chargers fans is strong. There are plenty of people who want Jackson to don the powder blues in 2018. Frankly, it would be a fun addition to the team. Although it won’t address a need, Los Angeles would be set up for future success. Jackson could learn from Philip Rivers and take a backseat for a year or two. They may have drastically different styles of play, Jackson may acquire Rivers’ knack for preparation and intensity.
David McCracken (BleacherReport.com): DT Maurice Hurst (Michigan)
The Los Angeles Chargers need to beef up their defensive line. Again, the duo of Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram is unmatched. However, the rest of the defensive line is subpar at best, Hurst would slide into the four-man defensive front extremely well. Hurst would help stop the run and take the pressure off of a thin linebacking corps.