The fourth is another phenomenal round to find hidden gems. In the last two years, Telesco discovered two over-looked players who have both gone on to make an impact on this team from the very beginning of their young careers.
Kyzir White was selected in the fourth round of the 2018 draft as a safety out of West Virginia. The Chargers coaching staff saw a versatile defender who could be molded into something new to help the team where it was the most needy. As a rookie, White put on 10-15 pounds and made the transition to linebacker where he started his first three games of his rookie campaign before succumbing to a knee injury that kept him out for the remainder of the year. In those first three and a half games, White had 17 total tackles, one tackle-for-loss, an interception, and two passes defended.
In this past draft, the Chargers selected another former safety-turned-linebacker in Drue Tranquill out of Notre Dame. The 6-foot-2, 235-pound Tranquill made the transition to linebacker while he was still in college and he’s already hit the ground running as a professional. With guys like Thomas Davis and incumbent starters in White and Denzel Perryman in front of him, it spoke volumes of the rookies maturity to work his way into the starting lineup for three games and contribute in 15.
Tranquill was also an ace special teams player. Not just for a rookie, but the first-year player ended the year as one of the best in the entire NFL. Heading into this season, it wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest to see Tranquill open the season as the starting middle linebacker for this defense as the Chargers are likely to make some changes involving the older, more underwhelming players at the position.
Prior to Tranquill and White, the team selected safety Rayshawn Jenkins out of Miami back in 2017. Jenkins played minimally as a rookie and saw his snaps increase slightly in 2018 when the Chargers went to a more consistent usage of Nickel and Dime packages. He was a full-fledged starter this past season following a slew of injuries to the defensive secondary which included Derwin James, Adrian Phillips, and 2019 second-round pick Nasir Adderley (who was likely going to start at FS over Jenkins).
Jenkins may have led the team in interceptions with three but he was a liability in coverage on the back end. He was one of the team leaders in missed tackles and those whiffs were highlighted even more after more than one helped lead to a touchdown for the opposing team.
Now there’s one lone black mark on Telesco’s fourth-round resume and that was former Ohio State linebacker Joshua Perry. At 6-foot-4 and 255 pounds, fans hoped he would be a lasting presence in the middle of the defense. But alas, Chargers fans have had to deal with sub-6’0 linebackers for the majority of the last four years. Perry hasn’t been with the Chargers since the 2016 season and has been out of football since 2017 when he was with the Indianapolis Colts.
Prior to Perry, the Chargers actually hadn’t had a fourth-round pick since the 2012 draft. So it’s hard to say Telesco has done a great job in this round with such a small sample size but i’d still give him a B+ for the last three drafts since those who were selected have all found starting jobs at one point and all three are still with the team.
Can TT continue this type of consistency from the middle rounds? We sure hope so. But now it’s your turn. Who are the Chargers picking in the fourth round of the 2020 NFL Draft?
(Note: Baylor WR Denzel Mims was the consensus third-round pick from the last fan vote.
Who do you want the Chargers to select with the 102nd-overall pick?
This poll is closed
WR Michael Pittman Jr., USC
EDGE Khalid Kareem, Notre Dame
OT Jack Driscoll, Auburn
CB Troy Pride Jr., Notre Dame
OG Netane Muti, Fresno State
DT Leki Fotu, Utah
TE Jared Pinkney, Vanderbilt