As of Friday morning, the Chargers have officially signed five of their seven draft picks from the 2018 NFL Draft to four-year contracts.
The rookies that signed were LB Uchenna Nwosu, LB Kyzir White, G/C Scott Quessenberry, WR Dylan Cantrell, and RB Justin Jackson. Although S Derwin James and DT Justin Jones have yet to sign, all seven rookies are expected to participate in rookie minicamp, which starts today.
Nwosu, a 6-foot-3, 251-pound linebacker out of USC, is expected to contend for the OTTO position in the defense with incumbent LB Kyle Emanuel. Scouts fell in love with his quickness off the snap and his ability to finish tackles behind the line of scrimmage. In college, Nwosu racked up 168 tackles, 20.5 for loss, 20 passes defensed, and 12.5 sacks during his 53-game career.
White, the Bolt’s fourth-round selection out of West Virginia, is a versatile athlete that played a hybrid linebacker/safety role during his time as a Mountaineer. He will likely end up in a similar position for the Chargers as the team preferred to stay in Dime/Nickel packages for the majority of defensive snaps which saw S Adrian Phillips fill in at an LB spot closer to the line of scrimmage. White stands at 6-foot-2 and 216 pounds which would be a solid size upgrade as opposed to Phillips’ 200-pound frame. White was a sticky tackler in college and showed that in his final year as he totaled 94 tackles, 7.5 for loss, three picks, and two forced fumbles.
The selection of Quessenberry in the fifth round is a fun story as he grew up a die-hard Chargers fan and is getting the chance to don former center Nick Hardwick’s #61 jersey. “Q-Berry” started all 13 games in 2017 and provides some nice interior line depth behind expected starters Forrest Lamp, Dan Feeney, and Mike Pouncey.
Sixth-round selection Dylan Cantrell was one of my favorite picks from this draft as I fell in love with his body-control and jump-ball ability. At 6-foot-3 and 226 pounds, Cantrell offers versatility as a red-zone threat or as a move-TE that head coach Anthony Lynn can use as a mismatch against smaller defensive backs and slower linebackers. In his final year at Texas Tech, Cantrell collected 71 catches for 816 yards and seven touchdowns.
Lastly, Justin Jackson comes to Los Angeles after becoming the leading rusher in Northwestern history. With his 5,440 career rushing yards, Jackson also became one of only nine players in NCAA history to rush for over 1,000 yards in each of his four years played. In 2017, the 6-foot-0, 199-pound workhorse was named to the All-Big Ten Second-Team after rushing for 1,311 yards and 11 touchdowns.