On day three of the NFL draft, with several of his former teammates still yet to hear their names get called, former Notre Dame star and current Chargers linebacker Drue Tranquill was off making use of his time instead of keeping up with the NFL draft ticker.
Unbeknownst to him, the Bolts were about to reunite him with one of his favorite teammates from his time in South Bend.
When asked what his reaction was to the Chargers drafting Alohi Gilman with the No. 186 pick, Tranquill told reporters during a virtual press conference on Wednesday that he actually first heard the news from his wife.
“My wife was the one who actually told me. I wasn’t following it. She screamed downstairs and said ‘WE DRAFTED ALOHI!’ and I was like ‘NO WAY!’ I was too pumped. I called him right away. (I was) so excited for him.”
Aside from being understandably excited about the team adding a familiar face in the building, Tranquill had a funny story to tell about his time going through the pre-draft gauntlet.
“When you’re going through the scouting process, the first question a lot of scouts and coaches asked me was ‘If you could take one teammate of yours with you to the NFL, who would it be and why?’ and I kid you not, my answer every time (last year) was Alohi.”
“He’s a leader, a future captain, he’s going to stand out on special teams, defense, and every facet of the game,” Tranquill said. “He’s just a guy who loves football. I think he fits really well in our culture.”
This is such an incredibly heady play by Alohi Gilman. His football IQ is incredibly high. It impresses me how often he makes plays like this. Watch his right hand. pic.twitter.com/3f13leYxB9— Bryan Driskell (@CoachD178) November 29, 2018
Here are some of my other takeaways from Wednesday’s virtual press conference:
Tranquill played MIKE when he got snaps in 2019
When asked if he called the defense at all last year, Tranquill told us that if he was on the field, he “had the mic.”
“That’s actually one of my favorite parts of the position. I like getting the call and commanding the defense. I don’t think I have trust issues but I like the idea of getting the call and making sure everyone else has it than trying to get it from somebody else.”
While there is still the possibility he plays some WILL in 2020, it’s enlightening to hear that he didn’t play any snaps at all there as a rookie. This maybe gives us an idea of how much Kenneth Murray will play on the weak side as a rookie while Tranquill and Perryman rotate at the MIKE to begin the season.
He isn’t sure if he’ll play more or less on special teams in 2020
When I asked if anything has been mentioned about his ST snaps increasing or decreasing this coming season, Tranquill said there hasn’t been any word on that just yet. Obviously he is set to see some extra snaps at linebacker but when you remember how successful he was as a core special teamer, it’s understandable to wonder.
Tranquill did finish his answer with the idea that the coaching staff may not want to break last year’s group up anymore than it already has after the departures of Adrian Phillips, Nick Dzubnar, and Derek Watt.
On rookie LB Kenneth Murray
“Coach (Richard) Smith sent us Ken’s number and we had a short text exchange. I hear he’s a great young man and obviously a great football player for us to trade up and draft him in the first round. I look forward to getting to know him this year and growing with him.”