We are officially just ONE WEEK away from day one of the 2019 NFL Draft and you bet you’re sweet peeps that I am STOKED.
To think that, just over a week from right now, we can all wrap our minds and hearts around a new class of Chargers rookies.
New names to write about. New names to rock on our backs as we cheer this team to victory on future Sundays to come.
It doesn’t get much better.
But we have six more rounds to go in this lead-up series to the big weekend so let’s get to it. Here are four more names that I believe should be legitimate considerations by the team when they get to day three of the draft.
WR/Utility Jalen Hurd - Baylor
For those of you unaware of Hurd’s incredibly interesting story, here is a short synopsis:
Hurd was a former running back for the Tennessee Volunteers from 2014-2016 where he was an absolute bruiser standing 6-foot-4 and 240 pounds. After a standout 2015 season where he rushed for 1,285 and 12 touchdowns, he hoped to do more of the same in 2016 even though he shared the backfield with current NFL backs Alvin Kamara and John Kelly.
After rushing for at least 90 yards in three of the teams first four games, Hurd took a nasty hit by a Georgia defender in the fifth game of the season. He went on to put up just 44 yards over the next two games combined against Alabama and South Carolina. Following the SC game, head coach Butch Jones announced that Hurd would be transferring.
In April of 2017, Hurd made it public that he planned to transfer to Baylor where he would also undergo a position change from running back to wide receiver in order to elongate his career by reducing the amount of hits he will take from not being a primary ball-carrier.
Hurd transformed his body while not playing in the 2017 season. Prior to his 2018 season, Hurd weighed around 225 pounds, roughly 15 short of his RB weight. In his lone season with the Bears, he was their most versatile offensive weapon, lining up primarily in the slot while still garnering some backfield reps in and around the red zone.
He finished his first campaign as a wideout with 69 catches for 946 yards and four touchdowns. He also punched in three scores on the ground while carrying the rock 48 times for 209 yards.
Jalen Hurd has been a wide receiver for 12 games and is already improved on his route running immensely.— Levi Chappell (@LeviChappell) April 16, 2019
- Uses his length and frame well
- Sells routes well
- Super quick learner@DLFootball @MyFantasyLeague #Dynasty #NFLDraft pic.twitter.com/XRGe47gKKC
In just a single year, it was apparent how hard Hurd had worked on his new craft to be able to find the success he did as he was named the Big 12 Offensive Newcomer of the Year. With one mismatch weapon having just left for the bay area, maybe the Chargers will kick the tires on a guy who could really open up a few more doors in this offense.
DT Dontavius Russell - Auburn
Russell is a guy that was a much more popular name in the early goings of 2018 but has since been overshadowed by the plethora of stud defenders in this year’s draft. Which means, someone may be getting a dang good football player on day three.
The former Tiger has good size for the position, coming in at 6-foot-3 and 319 pounds. His trait that pops the most on the film is his first step quickness, making him a candidate to possibly play the penetrating 3-tech that this Gus Bradley defense covets.
Russell was a for-year stalwart for the Auburn defense having started 49 of his 52 career games. His final numbers aren’t eye-popping, but they’re solid, nonetheless.
He finished his career with 153 total tackles, 17 tackles-for-loss, and six sacks.
Russell was also invited to the Reese’s Senior Bowl where he enjoyed a ho-hum week against some of the top talent in the entire county. He didn’t standout in many instances but just the fact he was invited is a good indicator that Tom Telesco and company have done their homework on the guy. All together, Russell has the experience and pedigree of a guy that should be looked at hard when things start to wind-down in this year’s draft.
OT Martez Ivey - Florida
Ivey came to the University of Florida as a highly-touted recruit was selected to several All-America teams, including USA Today and a spot in the U.S. Army All-American Game.
As a primary contributor from day one, Ivey played in all 12 games his freshman season, starting the last eight at left guard. In ‘16 and ‘17, Ivey started 23 of 24 games, playing mostly left guard with the last two starts of his junior campaign coming at left tackle. He was named to the second team All-SEC team in both years.
However, as a senior this past year, Ivey took a backseat to the resounding hype of teammate Jawaan Taylor who burst onto the scene to become one of the most coveted offensive linemen in this year’s draft. After looking like the better prospect of the two early in their careers, Ivey now sits as a low-round flier with some upside.
His 6-foot-5, 309-pound frame looks the part, and his 36 1/2-inch arms are tops among all offensive linemen in the entire class. But will the god-given stuff become enough with the proper coaching? I’m not so sure.
Youch. Martez Ivey did not have a great pro day at all. Former five star recruit. pic.twitter.com/D26KDAg0rs— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) April 14, 2019
Regardless, he showed some promise once before, maybe lightning can strike twice.
LB Cam Smith - USC
It’s easy to follow the bread crumbs when it comes to Smith and the Chargers. He’s a player right in their backyard that plays a position of need who may also come cheaply.
Smith has been a leading tackler for the Trojans ever since he stepped foot on campus. His freshman year was tremendous for a first-year player and really set the tone for the rest of his career in Southern California.
That season, in 2015, Smith had 78 tackles with a single TFL and sack, but he also picked off a trio of passes and took one of them back for a score.
In his next two years, Smith increased his tackle numbers to 83 the following year, and then up to 112 in 2017, making him just the second Trojan to go over 100 tackles since 2012. In 2018, his tackle numbers would fall back down to 81.
Smith would finish his career with 26.5 tackles-for loss, 3.5 sacks, four interceptions, and a surprising 14 passes defended.
Smith possesses the leadership, intensity, and football IQ that any coach would want in a middle linebacker. Some guys just have a knack for always being around the football and that’s always something any coaching staff can work with.
With the linebacker class being one of the weaker groups in this year’s draft, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Smith get selected prior to the sixth round, but if he were to fall well into day three, there’s no reason the Chargers shouldn’t bring the hometown kid in.