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BFTB Goes to Mobile: Players to watch at the Senior Bowl

A preview of some of the players I’ll be watching closely in Mobile next week.

NCAA Football: Wisconsin at Illinois Mark Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

It’s that time of the year again where the entire college and professional football scouting community starts their annual migration down to the low-country where the Reese’s Senior Bowl will be celebrating his 70th birthday in the quaint little town of Mobile, Alabama.

For those of you who may not know what the Senior Bowl is, the yearly contest is essentially the premiere college football all-star game that consists of the top senior or junior-grad players in the country. Some of the biggest names in the NFL have passed through the city, including quarterbacks Russell Wilson, Dak Prescott, and Carson Wentz, and most recently, Baker Mayfield and Josh Allen.

Many players come down to Mobile in hopes of raising their draft stock by a round or two, while others come to solidify their place as a day one prospect in the upcoming NFL Draft.

If last year’s draft class was any indication, it is also a place where the Chargers’ top-brass come to find their future stars as fourthe the team’s seven selections from last year played in the Senior Bowl. Those players were LB Uchenna Nwosu (2nd-round pick), DT Justin Jones (3rd), S/LB Kyzir White (4th), and C Scott Quessenberry (5th). Of these four, three of them saw extensive playing time with White being the lone starter of the group once training camp broke.

This year, I think the crop of talent is as good as its’ ever been and there are a number of talented and versatile players that I believe would be phenomenal fits for the Chargers. Now that the Chargers’ season is over, I’ve had to cram in all of my film study before I head down this coming Monday. It is a bit overwhelming, but man is it fun.

With most of the Bolts’ draft needs circling around the middle linebacker spot and interior of both the offensive and defensive lines, I’ve collected a handful of prospects that fit the mold of what I believe the Chargers want to do on both sides of the ball next year and for the foreseeable future.

Let’s dive in.

OG Michael Deiter - Wisconsin

At the end of Deiter’s career in Madison, he had started a Wisconsin-record 54 games in his career. This ranks him second behind only Ohio State’s Billy Price, who started 55 during his tenure with the Buckeyes.

The Chargers have valued versatility at all positions, especially in the last few years. Deiter boasts the most versatility in the class by far, even when compared to Kansas State’s Dalton Risner who joins Deiter as one of the consistently highest-graded offensive linemen over the past three to four years.

Of his 54 starts, Deiter has 24 at left guard, 16 at center, and 14 at left tackle. At 6-foot-6 and 321 pounds, Deiter has an enormous, compact frame that doesn’t bare many signs of bad weight. He moves extremely well for his size and exhibits the athleticism needed to make it as a guard for an Anthony Lynn-led team.

He can hinge and pull with the best of them and can really bring the hammer when asked to kick out defenders. His Wisconsin pedigree will do a lot for him this draft cycle, but Deiter has the experience and resume to stake his claim at the top with any other high-profile offensive line prospect in this years draft.

LB Germaine Pratt - North Carolina State

As a non-starter in 2017, Pratt was the fourth-leading tackler on the Wolfpack defense with 69 total tackles, 5.5 tackles-for-loss, and a pair of game-sealing interceptions. He stepped into a starting role this past season and found himself pacing the team in tackles with 104 total stops, 10 tackles-for-loss, and six sacks which were the only six of his career.

At 6-foot-3 and 235-240 pounds, Pratt would step in as one of the biggest linebackers on the team which, if you’re anything like me, is great when you can’t help but view your linebacker group as a substitute for the workers over at the Willy Wonka Chocolate Factory.

In the above play, you can see that NCST liked to put Pratt on the line of srimmage from time to time. You’ve gotta like what you see from a mental processing standpoint on this play as he filters through quite a bit of trash to find the running back coming out of the other side of the play.

Pratt is also a converted safety who made the switch to linebacker during the 2016 when he missed the entire year due to injury. And I know, I know, “linebacker that used to be a safety” are pretty much trigger words for Tom Telesco and his staff which makes me think they might be likely to dip back in the Wolfpack player pool after they selected former NCST DL Justin Jones last year.

DL Renell Wren - Arizona State

My good friend Gavino Borquez over at Draft Wire has been a big fan of Wren’s ever since the start of the 2018 college football season. He’s also had a good view of Wren all season as both Gavino and Wren have attended ASU for the last several years.

Standing 6-foot-5 and hovering around 300 pounds, Wren is a long, fairly-lean defensive tackle prospect with a ton of POP behind his hands. His insane get-off after the snap is a testament to his elite athletic ability which also happened to land him on The Athletic’s “Freaks” list which highlights the biggest freak-athletes in college football.

Wren checked in at #19 on the list as the explosive linemen has apparently been clocked at an impressive 4.86 forty-yard dash to go along with a 34-inch vertical and a 10-foot broad jump. Not surprising for a guy who can also squat well over 600 pounds and benches 430 pounds.

While the Chargers will likely be looking for a run-stuffing nose tackle earlier in the draft, there is still plenty of room to upgrade at the 3-technique position with Corey Liuget possibly gone before next season. Wren is a perfect fit for the penetrating 3-tech that Gus Bradley likes to utilize in this defense while creating a devastatingly-synergistic front four along with Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa.

There a number of other players worthy of the Bolts’ attention during next week’s showcase, but for convenience’s sake, I’ll stick with the rule of three.

Check back in on here and on my twitter (@Zonetracks) to stay up to date with what I’ll be doing in Mobile and all my observations through each team’s practices Tuesday through Thursday.