We are officially 17 days away from opening night of the 2019 NFL Draft and the speculation surrounding each team’s motives are only going to get murkier and murkier with each new “source” or rumor that comes to light.
Until the picks are finally etched in stone, everything is up in the air, especially on day 3 when each pick isn’t much better than throwing a dart at the wall.
However, as Chargers fans have come to realize over the last few seasons, the team’s selections on day 3 have become essential parts in the team’s recent success. Guys like running back Justin Jackson and defensive end Isaac Rochell were both selected in the seventh round over the last two seasons. Each has a start under their belt and were key contributors in 2018. After watching Coach Lynn talk the talk when it comes to “playing the best guy”, it’s not out of the blue to think the team’s day 3 picks could be contributors sooner rather than later.
With this mind, I’m starting off this short series leading up to the draft with four selections in the seventh round that the Chargers should consider drafting. By April 25th, I will go round by round and throw out four names that I believe should be the team’s biggest priorities on each day of the draft, all the way up through the first.
That being said, here are the first four guys that I believe will not only be available in the seventh, but also fit what the Chargers want to do on either side of the ball.
DT Cortez Broughton - Cincinnati
After three underwhelming years for the Bearcats where Broughton only accounted for 3.5 sacks, he broke out in a big during his senior season to the tune of 7.5 sacks and 18.5 tackles-for-loss. He was rightfully named a First Team All-AAC selection alongside DT Ed Oliver, a potential top-5 pick in the draft.
Cincinnati Senior DL Cortez Broughton. That is a hell of a bullrush. 6'2"/290lbs. Seems like a great kid, too. pic.twitter.com/iaVzfTnx0D— Jared Stanger (@JaredStanger) September 11, 2018
Broughton shows a first-step quickness that can be so eye-popping at times that it makes you wonder how you haven’t been hearing more about this guy until now. He is only listed at 6-foot-2 and 290-ish pounds but he can certainly play larger than those numbers. In the video above where Broughton bull-rushes the UCLA guard into the QB’s lap, you can see how overwhelming he can be when he gets the jump on an unsuspecting linemen.
In contrast to his peaks as a pass-rusher, there are times where Broughton struggles to finish sacks that are so bad it makes you think he;s undraftable, like this example from The Draft Network’s Ben Solak:
Sorry but Cortez Broughton is undraftable after this pic.twitter.com/dk4is4nYjB— Benjamin Solak (@BenjaminSolak) March 28, 2019
Day 3 guys are going to come with some major bumps and bruises in their game, but it’s all about balancing the potential upside with fit and Broughton fits into the Bolts’ mold of a pentrating 3-technique that only needs to worry about winning his gap and getting into the quarterback’s face.
CB Derrek Thomas - Baylor
If there is one thing that we can agree on when it comes to Gus Bradley when it comes to his cornerbacks, it’s that he likes them long and tall.
If you look at the original members of Seattle’s vaunted Legion of Boom, cornerbacks Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner were 6’3 and 6’4, respectively while safety Kam Chancellor was also 6’3. The shortest member was safety Earl Thomas at 5’11 but he’s Earl flippin’ Thomas so of course he’s in it.
Ever since Bradley got hired as the team’s defensive coordinator, he has yet to draft an outside cornerback, but the undrafted free agents they’ve brought in definitely fit that mold.
Michael Davis, Brandon Facyson, and Jeff Richards are all listed at 6’2. How tall do you guys think Thomas?
He’s 6’3, according to his draft profile, and showed off some awesome explosiveness at the NFL combine when he jumped 39.5 in the vertical and 10’11 in the broad.
Thomas has only been a cornerback for three seasons, having switched from wide receiver before the 2016 season while he was still at Temple. He didn’t rack up a ton of picks but it’s hard to pass-up his physical traits at such a low price. The Chargers seem to always bring in a cornerback or two when they collect their UDFAs and Thomas may just be in that group if he isn’t taken on day 3.
LB Ty Summers - TCU
A guy I hadn’t heard of much until recently, Summers is one of the twitchiest linebackers in the class who tested extremely well across his pro day and the NFL combine.
At 240 pounds, his 4.51 forty is extremely impressive when paired with his excellent explosion and agility numbers listed in the graphic below. His play strength is a common “plus” among his traits so the 27 reps on bench press, ranking 3rd among the position in Indy, is also no surprise.
There aren’t really any thresholds to look at when it comes to predicting who the Chargers may draft when it comes to linebackers, but we know they like them xcrazy-athletic and versatile.
Jatavis Brown and Kyzir White both fit this mold and I believe Summers numbers speak for themselves. The speed of Summers shows up in coverage and when he is tasked with blitzing but it’s his instincts that are getting dinged the most in the pre-draft process.
Here’s what NFL analyst Lance Zierlein has to say about Summers:
But again, it’s the seventh round, and I’ll take Summers’ physical traits every day with the 244th pick.
TCU ILB Ty Summers is a really solid coverage ILB. His instincts and awareness coupled with quickness allow him to really be a great stopgap over the middle. Dude is one of the stickier ILBs I’ve seen, there’s rarely any separation when he’s on a guy. pic.twitter.com/T936kWq9LG— Nick Farabaugh (@FarabaughFB) January 30, 2019
QB Jordan Ta’amu - Ole Miss
I mentioned Ta’amu before in one of my previous mock drafts and I’m sticking by him in this piece, as well.
Ta’amu was the luckiest quarterback in college football this past season. He not only threw to one, but two receivers that will likely go in the first round this year and a third that should get heavy consideration early on day 3.
Ta’amu played in a shotgun-heavy vertical passing scheme that bodes well for a smoother transition were he to get drafted by the Chargers. The Bolts were one of the best teams when it came to explosive passing plays (25+ yards) in the NFL last season and that shouldn’t change, even with speedster Tyrell Williams now with the Raiders.
The former Rebel quarterback wasn’t terribly prolific in school, throwing for just under 4,000 yards and 19 touchdowns in 2018. His mobility is a plus for me as he also ran for 342 yards and another six touchdowns on the ground.
Ole Miss QB Jordan Ta’amu was a pleasant surprise yesterday. pic.twitter.com/eEVPeSLfk0— Clint Lamb (@ClintRLamb) October 29, 2017
The most scathing marks on Ta’amu’s resume are going to be the fact that his offense ran maybe two dozens plays all year and his lack of productivity with such an explosive offense around him. His peaks throughout the season were admirable but his low-points against Alabama and LSU were really quite awful.
Oh, okay Jordan Ta’amu. Promising prospects show success in extended plays and accuracy when forced off their spot. He does both here. pic.twitter.com/TiLXEAyIJf— Kyle Crabbs (@GrindingTheTape) October 19, 2018
Alas, I cannot help but imagine what Ta’amu could do in the Chargers offense, given his propensity for the long-ball and Lynn’s undying preference for a quarterback with some wiggle.