The Chargers have drafted a player from the University of Notre Dame in three of the last four NFL drafts. Back in 2017, it was defensive end Isaac Rochell. In 2019, it was defensive tackle Jerry Tillery and linebacker Drue Tranquill. This year, it was safety Alohi Gilman. That’s four players total and the team still found a way to nab two more in their recent group of undrafted free agents.
In the extremely off-chance that both linebacker Asmar Bilal and cornerback Donte Vaughn make the final roster, there could be six players from the 2018 Irish defense on the Chargers at the same time.
That would be so incredibly weird. But luckily, Bilal and Vaughn probably have two of the lowest chances in the entire UDFA group to find a lasting spot with the Bolts.
First off, Vaughn wasn’t even a full-time starter at Notre Dame. Four starts in the final two seasons there isn’t going to move the needle a ton but it’s Vaughn size that I think intrigued the Chargers enough to bring him in. He’s 6’2 and 212 pounds, which is pretty large for a corner.
While his height fits the threshold Gus Bradley likes in his CBs, the weight makes me wonder if Vaughn is another player they brought in to see if they could find a gem to play their Dime linebacker position. Their sixth-round pick Alohi Gilman was seemingly drafted to play that role but Adrian Phillips was a former undrafted free agent and maybe they think they can make it happen again.
I said all summer that having Asmar Bilal in the lineup at LB would be a liability for Notre Dame. In the last two games he has proven me incredibly wrong, snap after snap.— Bryan Driskell (@CoachD178) September 23, 2019
I didn't think he was capable of making plays like this, and he's making a lot of them. Well done here. pic.twitter.com/13q4Cotm8f
As for Bilal, he’s an undersized linebacker with just 10 starts to his name and they all came in 2018. He appeared all 13 games this past season and finished third on the team with 79 total tackles plus 10 tackles-for-loss and two pass breakups.
To be honest, I think there’s next to no chance of Bilal making the team with the linebacker room looking as loaded as it’s ever been. They got depth at all three Base linebacker positions and since the team plays a lot of sub-packages, there’s an even smaller chance due to the lack of snaps for players at the second level, alone.
So for the Irish fans who may have overfed their fever dream of Notre Dame taking over the west coast, I’m here to tell you that it probably ends here for the 2020 season.
Benjamin Solak examines the fit of Justin Herbert and the Chargers (The Draft Network)
Matt Bowen explains how Kenneth Murray is a perfect fit for the Chargers’ defense (ESPN+)
Jason Reed lays out three players who will disappoint in 2020 (Bolt Beat)
Alexander Insdorf ranks the AFC West defenses by position (Bolt Beat)
Gavino Borquez highlights how the Chargers could go from worst to first in 2020 (Chargers Wire)
Martin Fenn ranks every team’s defense for 2020 (Bleacher Report)
Tim Daniels reports that the NFL possibly playing games at a centralized location “is not on the table.” (Bleacher Report)
Austin Anderson talks about his three takeaways from the new Project 11 documentary (Sporting News)