Round One - Pick 6
OT Jedrick Wills, Alabama
- 320 lbs.
For most of the college football season it was just Georgia’s Andrew Thomas and Iowa’s Tristan Wirfs balancing at the top of draft boards and fighting for the title of the #1 offensive tackle in the country.
As the CFB season came to a close, the Wills-hive seemed to come out of nowehere as draft scouts across all media platforms started ingesting his tape. Soon, Wills skyrocketed up the rankings and is now the front-runner for the first offensive tackle to be taken off the board. Some mock drafts even have him going as high as #4 to the New York Giants.
But there are a solid eight different players who could all potentially go within the first picks of the draft, meaning a player like Wills has a good chance of being there when the Chargers are on the clock.
Like Wirfs, Wills has been a mainstay on the right side of the line for Alabama so he wouldn’t have to flip to the other side like Thomas or Louisville’s Mekhi Becton would.
Wills’ body composition isn’t exactly put together as well as Wirfs or Thomas but the guy still plays out of his mind with a mauler’s mentality and the fundamental footwork of a guy who’s been in the league for several years. Both of those attributes are sorely needed up front for the Bolts.
He may not be the most exciting pick with the sixth-overall selection, but he would help out this Chargers team in more ways than one.
Jedrick Wills tape is enjoyable pic.twitter.com/UQHTvzwZoy— Jon Ledyard (@LedyardNFLDraft) January 28, 2020
Round Two - Pick 38
CB Jeff Gladney, TCU
- 183 lbs.
The last time the Chargers took a chance on a cornerback from TCU with elite athletic ability in the first round, they got a guy named Jason Verrett with Pro Bowl talent but a grocery list full of injuries.
Verrett would start 14 out of 16 games in 2015 en route to playing in the Pro Bowl but has failed to play in more than four games in any year since which is just insane injury luck, even for a former Chargers player.
Could that type of injury bug strike twice? I highly doubt it. That’s why picking Gladney at the top of the second could be a huge get as some believe he could go as high as the middle of the the first round.
Gladney is definitely taller than Verrett (6-0 versus 5-9) but he still exhibits the same stickiness in man coverage. He’s got one of the best click-and-close speeds among the position group and he has a knack for coming up and bringing down running backs and tight ends before they can get up to speed. It reminds me of the way Derwin James and Desmond King (2018-form) play the run which, if you don’t recall, is the reason both of them were named First Team All-Pros in two years ago.
Gladney finished his college career with 146 total tackles, 1.5 sacks, five interceptions, and 38 passes defended with a career-high 14 of those coming in 2019.
TCU Jeff Gladney is a feisty CB. He didn’t back down from Denzel Mims at all. pic.twitter.com/sBV4zk7DtJ— Cover 1 (@Cover_1_) January 14, 2020
Round Three - Pick 70
DT Leki Fotu
- 337 lbs.
Tom Telesco knew that the defense line needed to get bigger and more versatile along the interior and that’s why he went out and selected 6-foot-6 Jerry Tillery out of Notre Dame in the first round last year. That decision didn’t pay off like they hoped in 2019 but one year doesn’t decide a player’s entire career.
The rest of the defensive interior for the Chargers is made up of some older vets like Brandon Mebane (35), Sylvester Williams (31), and Damion Square (30). The Chargers need to get a little younger at the 0/1-technique and Fotu out of Utah would be a perfect fit.
Fotu was a Senior Bowl invite but didn’t get the chance to participate due to an unforeseen injury he sustained prior to the week’s festivities. Even without getting the chance to perform, the fact he was invited is a big deal for the Chargers as they’ve drafted at least three players from the event (4 in 2018) in each of their last three draft classes.
Leki Fotu would look good in Silver & Black. pic.twitter.com/PDm9MdDj6K— Maliik (@Obee1ne) October 13, 2019
Fotu would be a MASSIVE addition - pun intended - to the Bolts’ defensive line alongside Justin Jones and Tillery. Could you imagine this defense running with three linemen that are 6-foot-5 and above? And Jones at 6-foot-3 wouldn’t be a slouch, either.
In the same manner that the team fell in love with Tillery, Fotu has an excellent first step off the line and that helps him get the jump on unsuspecting offensive linemen. Fotu unfortunately didn’t stuff the stat sheet while at Utah but, like South Carolina’s Javon Kinlaw who is a potential top-15 pick, you don’t get the whole picture of him as a prospect if you just scan the box score.
He is going to be a space-eater and that explosiveness off the ball will find itself benefiting the rest of the defense when the offense gets knocked off its’ axis by a 337-pound linemen penetrating the A-gap within .5 seconds of the snap.
Fotu’s final career stat line of 82 total tackles, 17 tackles-for-loss, and four sacks isn’t going to wow you, but I believe the rest of his positive traits are easily translated to the pros and that’s always a safe bet when it comes to taking risks on “toolsy” players in the draft.