The Athletic doesn’t put out a ton of mock drafts but when they do, it’s usually fairly different from the guys at Bleacher Report, CBS Sports, etc.
Dane Brugler put together an intriguing three-round mock that has the Chargers investing their first three picks all on the offensive side of the ball, while waiting until the third to address their need for an offensive tackle.
In the second, Brugler provides the Chargers with one of the most electric play-makers in the entire class. In this scenario, he simply went with best player available and I cannot fault him for that.
Check out the picks and the rest of my thoughts down below.
Round 1 - QB Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama
The left-handed passer from Alabama has continuously gotten good news with each every new medical check-up he goes through. With his current pace, Tua will debut on the draft season circuit when he holds his own personal workout in Tuscaloosa on April 9th, the final pro day workout scheduled before the draft.
The majority of the mock drafts out there will have Tua gone before the Chargers are on the clock but a few in recent weeks have started reflecting the scenario that the Dolphins just aren’t that interested in him, stemming from his comment at the combine.
I think getting Tua while staying would be one of the biggest steals of the entire draft. He’s deadly accurate and can wiggle through the pocket as well as anyone in college football. If you were to sketch the type of player Lynn wants under center, it would be Tua.
Tua Tagovailoa (my #1 rated QB in this 2020 NFL draft Class)— @ ™ (@CFBLive247) February 26, 2020
Just sit back and enjoy... pic.twitter.com/QHVgfdFeqX
As a sophomore in 2018, he started all 15 games and threw for 3,966 yards with 43 touchdowns to just 6 interceptions. As a junior this past season, he was on pace to break his career-highs before going down against Mississippi State in their ninth game of the year. He ended his final season with 2,840 yards, 33 touchdowns, and 3 interceptions.
Round 2 - RB J.K. Dobbins, Ohio State
This is definitely one of the more “out there” picks for the Chargers when it comes to their first three picks. Dobbins is coming off a season where he rushed for a whopping 2,003 yards and 21 touchdowns. That’s some insane production, all coming while playing the rough-and-tough Big Ten Conference.
Man I wish JK Dobbins would’ve performed at the Combine. He’s so damn good. Look at his balance, feet, and agility he uses on this play. Forced 53 missed tackles this past season. Future feature RB in almost any system. pic.twitter.com/ytP7nVus3j— PrimeTime Prospects™️ (@NFLPTP) March 3, 2020
The only way I can see the Chargers selecting one of the top running backs this high in the draft is if Anthony Lynn still believes he needs a traditional three-down workhorse to be successful running the football. He’s already said he needs “another guy in there” with Austin Ekeler and that tells me he was a “starter” while being able to work Ekeler in at a variety of spots. Now, of course this is an exciting pick. Who wouldn’t love adding a top player at any of the skill positions? But the team has bigger needs elsewhere. Mainly, the nom-skill player positions.
Round 3 - OT Matthew Peart, UConn
In this mock draft, the Chargers go ahead and select an athletic, yet raw, offensive tackle in the third round in back-to-back drafts. At 6’7 and 318 pounds, Peart is the type of player that you make sure gets off the bus first. His weight distribution is phenomenal and he could even stand to put on a little more mass if he chose.
A four-year starter at Connecticut, Peart has immediate value as a swing tackle at the next level thanks to his fluid athleticism. He latches on well to defender when he’s pulled out into space and defensive backs have a hard time escaping his massive mitts. Peart spent his first two seasons at UConn manning the left tackle spot before switching to the right side for his final two years. In 2019, he was a First-Team All-AAC selection.