It’s well-known that general manager Tom Telesco has been money when it comes to his draft picks in the middle rounds (3-5). Some notable contributors over the last few years that came out of these rounds are Jatavis Brown, Kyzir White, Justin Jones, and Dan Feeney.
In 2019, the team’s third, fourth, and fifth-round selections were offensive tackle Trey Pipkins, linebacker Drue Tranquill, and quarterback Easton Stick. Unlike the last few years, only one of these three picks has himself a “less-than-difficult” path to playing time in front of him.
Trey Pipkins was instantly touted as a developmental project at tackle while Stick looks to get comfortable on the sidelines with Philip Rivers set to man the offense for the next few years (or so we all assume).
What’s left after that is versatile linebacker Drue Tranquill, a former safety-turned-linebacker who shined with the Golden Domers from 2014-2018. The three incumbents starters (sans Thomas Davis) from last year are Denzel Perryman, Jatavis Brown, and Kyzir White. All three of them did not finish the year on the active rosters due to injuries. Perryman and Brown’s issues have followed them for multiple years and White career already has a dark smudge on it after he missed the rest of the season following three starts to begin his professional career.
With that in mind, should the injury bug rear it’s ugly head, Tranquill may find himself on the field for the Bolts way sooner than Lynn and company ever expected.
As a safety for his first three seasons with the Fighting Irish, Tranquill was an impact player from the very start of his career. As a freshman, he totaled 33 tackles, one tackle-for-loss, an interception, and a blocked punt.
It was during his sophomore season that tragedy struck as Tranquill succumbed to a torn ACL after he garnered a single start in the team’s first three games. He received a medical redshirt and was set to play another three years in South Bend.
In 2016, Tranquill started all 12 games and totaled 79 tackles, a pair of TFLs, and another interception. Prior to the next season Tranquill transitioned to linebacker and found himself starting all 13 games of the year en route to a breakout season. He finished 2017 with a career-high 85 total stops, 10.5 tackles-for-loss, 1.5 sacks, three fumble recoveries, four passes defended, an interception, and a forced fumble.
In his final campaign, Tranquill set a career-high again in tackles with 86 to go along with nine tackles-for-loss, 3.5 sacks, another four passes defended, and a fumble recovery.
College: Notre Dame
Years with team: 0
“Drue Tranquill signed a 4 year, $3,178,808 contract with the Los Angeles Chargers, including a $658,808 signing bonus, $658,808 guaranteed, and an average annual salary of $794,702. In 2019, Tranquill will earn a base salary of $495,000 and a signing bonus of $658,808, while carrying a cap hit of $659,702 and a dead cap value of $658,808.” - Spotrac.com
An excellent athlete, leader, and role model, Tranquill has all the intangibles a coachwould covet in a football player. He’s a natural-born competitor with a fiery spirit that shines brightly on the field every week. I got the chance to interview him while at the Senior Bowl and the guy just exudes confidence.
His background as a defensive back helps play into his ability to play the ball from the second level. His click-and-close abilities are above-average for the linebacker position which should pair well with his knack for knocking heads with running backs he chases down in the flat or tight ends that he’s covering up the seams.
There’s honestly not a ton to say that negative about Tranquill, as a player or a person, for that matter. Besides being stuck behind a decent amount of players at his position, he’s set to be in the league for a long time.
Odds of making the roster/What to expect in 2019
Tranquill is set to be a shoe-in to make the final 53-man roster as a back-up across all linebacker positions. He has played a little at each Will, Mike, and Sam linebacker and should replace Nick Dzubnar as the team’s back-up Mike linebacker going forward.
Expect to see Tranquill play sparingly, mostly starring in a special teams role unless injuries pile up.
Fun Fact: Tranquill was the 2018 recipient of the Wuerffel Trophy, given annually to the college football player “who best combines exemplary community service with athletic and academic achievement.”
During his senior year of high-school, Tranquill excelled on defense, but his offensive stats as a running back were astounding. He Fort Wayne-native rushed for 1,420 yards and 28 touchdowns on just 114 carries. He also caught 16 passes for a whopping 348 yards and another five touchdowns.