Until the opening night of the 2019 NFL Draft.
Time has just flown these last couple of months while also feeling like it’s been going at a snail’s pace. But we are here and there’s nothing left separating us from primetime besides some stupid Z’s that half of draft twitter won’t even get because they’re too busy trying to finish their 500-prospect draft guide before the sun rises.
But alas, this is the final installment of this short series and obviously the most star-studded decision is left. Who will the Chargers take when their name is called late Thursday evening? Will there even be a decent player left, or will they be stuck reaching for a guy? Will they trade out of the first round if things unfold that way?
Only time will tell. But let’s enjoy these last 24 hours while we can, shall we? Here are my final four players that I believe should garner the utmost consideration by the Chargers tomorrow night.
CB Byron Murphy - Washington
Over the last few weeks, analysts have been busy mocking different cornerbacks to the Chargers at #28 with the most common being Rock Ya-Sin of Temple, Georgia’s DeAndre Baker, or Washington’s Byron Murphy. If I had to put money down on it, I believe Murphy would be the guy and the best fit for what the Chargers want to do.
Murphy fits best in a zone scheme where his elite-level play route recognition can be on full display in Bradley’s Cover 3 system. His tendency to lay the wood at sub-190 pounds would also be a welcomed addition to a secondary with tons of swagger already oozing off of the roster.
2018 #Pac12FB Champ game MVP— Pac-12 Network (@Pac12Network) April 21, 2019
58 tackles, 4 tackles for loss, 4 interceptions + 1 forced fumble in 2018.
Byron Murphy has been a standout cornerback for @UW_Football.
Where will the #NFLDraft take him? pic.twitter.com/sbJgreUH0X
Murphy was just a two year starter for the Huskies after redshirting during his first year on campus in 2016. In 2017, Murphy started just six games (the first three and last three) due to injury. He still posted 16 total stops, 3 tackles-for-loss, two interceptions and seven pass breakups. He started all 14 games in 2018, quickly becoming one of the most fun defensive backs to watch in the entire country. He decided to forego the rest of his eligibility after posting 58 tackles, four tackles-for-loss, four interceptions, and 13 pass breakups in his final collegiate season.
OT Dalton Risner - Kansas State
If there is a versatile offensive linemen in this draft, it’s Risner, who is looked at as one of, if not the only prospect, who could play all five position across the line. In his first year at KSU, Risner was named a first team Freshman All-American after starting all 13 games at center. Due to team needs, Risner moved out to right tackle where he stayed for his final three years. In all, the Senior Bowl-invitee started 50 of 51 career games and was named to the All-Big 12 First Team three-straight seasons, culminating in a second team All-American nod by the Associated Press and other outlets in 2018.
*stands up*— Michael Peterson (@ZoneTracks) March 19, 2019
*kicks chair across the room*
*screams in the cat's face*
WOOOOOO! (Dalton Risner is fun) pic.twitter.com/wrUbgHGKbk
At 6-foot-5 and 310 pounds, Risner possesses the adequate to play inside and out with the leadership experience and football IQ to succeed just about anywhere. At this point, most pundits prefer Risner as a guard. Due to his mental capactiy, somee think he would instantly help a team in need at center.
When it comes to the Chargers, I believe Risner would be just fine staying out at right tackle and replacing the underwhelming Sam Tevi, who gave up more pressures last season than Risner did in his entire Kansas State career. Risner brings a finisher’s mentality to the field and would really help set the tone early in games, which is something this offensive line failed to do on the back-9 of this past season.
DT Christian Wilkins - Clemson
Now Wilkins would be the absolute perfect pick for the Chargers should he drop all the way to #28. He plays a position of extreme need and offers the versatile that makes Tom Telesco salivate.
Just look at what Clemson trusted Wilkins to do this past season in the clip below.
Y’all...— Trevor Sikkema (@TampaBayTre) October 27, 2018
Clemson put 300-pound DL Christian Wilkins at running back...
Not at full back!
AT RUNNING BACK pic.twitter.com/9m2hxwR9tu
Not that I think Anthony Lynn would ever put a defensive tackle in the backfield, but it’s a testament to Wilkins’ talents nonetheless.
A four-year starter for the reigning National Champs, Wilkins was an instant-impact player when he collected 33 tackles, 4.5 for loss, and a pair of sacks as a freshmen. In his sophomore campaign, he upped his game to 48 tackles, 13 tackles-for-loss, and 3.5 sacks en route to helping the Tigers to their first of two titles in the last three years. He also added a staggering nine passes deflected at the line.
His junior season was more of the same, clocking in with nine TFLs and five sacks. His final season was rightfully his most productive. His 51 total stops weren’t a career-high but his 14 Tackles-for-loss and 5.5 sacks sure were.
Wilkins’ 6-foot-4, 315-pound frame, combined with his elite athleticism, would allow the Chargers to do wonderful things at the line of scrimmage. Being able to move Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram around has been a huge success, but could you imagine if those two could be paired with an interior presence that makes opposing OC’s sweat? I can see it now, and it’s glorious.
S Nasir Adderley - Delaware
Now this one may not be the most exciting pick but it could end up making all the difference on the back end of this defense. If you take a look back at last year and re-watch all of the blown plays by Jahleel Addae in coverage (TDs to 49er’s Kittle and Raven’s Andrews as prime examples) then you’ll understand just how bad the secondary needs someone who can patrol the back end while Derwin James in doing what he does best in and around the box.
Adderley started his career with the Blue Hens as a cornerback where he started ever game through his freshman and sophomore seasons. In those two years, he amassed 100 tackles, 14 pass breakups and two interceptions.
Prior to his junior season, Adderley switched to safety where he enjoyed an even more productive end to his playing career. In 2017 and ‘18, Adderley was named a First Team All-CAA pick, including a second team FCS All-American nod this past year, after he totaled 165 total stops, 17 pass breakups, and nine interceptions. He was invited to the Senior Bowl in late January where he enjoyed a standout week in practice before picking off a pass during the all-star game.
"Is Delaware safety Nasir Adderley really a first-round worthy prospect?"— Jordan Reid (@JReidNFL) January 19, 2019
My Column: pic.twitter.com/EqxwLOMoq8
The 6-foot-0, 206-pound defender is as “twitched-up” as you would want in a deep defender. He was putting on a little show during his pro day before tweaking his hammy during the forty yard dash which caused him to end things right there. He still managed a 4.54 time but take that with a grain of salt. Beforehand, Adderley jumped a lofty 38 inches in the vertical and 10’ 9” in the broad after busting out 19 reps on the bench press.
It may be the “boring” thing to do by picking another player in the first at the same position they did last year, but don’t underrate the type of impact another elite defender could have on this Chargers’ defense.