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Chargers 90-in-90: LB Drue Tranquill

The special teams ace will look to solidify a spot on the defense in 2020.

LA Chargers training camp Photo by Paul Bersebach/MediaNews Group/Orange County Register via Getty Images

Linebacker Drue Tranquill left his town of Fort Wayne, Indiana as one of the most productive players to ever come from Carroll High School.

Of course, you expect to see some eye-popping numbers on defense. As a senior linebacker, Tranquill racked up 75 tackles, 16 tackles-for-loss, four sacks, and a single interception. Those aren’t bad, by any means. But check out these offensive stats.

As a running back, Tranquill carried the ball just 114 times. However, he turned those carries into 1,420 yards and a whopping 28 touchdowns. He also added 16 catches, which he turned into 348 receiving yards and five more touchdowns.

Tranquill left Carroll ad a four-star prospect who initially committed to Purdue early in the recruiting process. But before everything was said and done, he pulled his commitment from the Boilermakers and settled on the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame. Hint: it ended up being the right decision for him.

There was no redshirt for Tranquill as he earned three starts and played in 11 total games as a true freshman. Heading into their final game on November 22 of that year, he had accumulated 33 total tackles, one for loss, a single interception, a fumble recovery, and a blocked kick. As close as he was to finishing the year unscathed, Tranquill unfortunately succumbed to a torn ACL before the final whistle.

The following year, tragedy struck one again in the form of another ACL tear just three games into the new year.

Tranquill started 12 games in his return to play in 2016, recording 79 stops, two tackles-for-loss, and another interception. He was also named a First-Team Academic All-American, showing off that vaunted Notre Dame education.

For his final two seasons in South Bend, Tranquill made the transition to linebacker where he started the final 26 games. In both the 2017 and 2018 seasons, he was named a team captain and accumulated 171 tackles. 19.5 tackles-for-loss, a pick, a forced fumble, and four fumble recoveries. Following his senior season, Tranquill was awarded the Wuerffel Trophy, which is given to the player “who best combines exemplary community service with athletic and academic achievement.”

Due to his exemplary performance on and off the field for the Irish, Tranquill was also invited to participate in that year’s Reese’s Senior Bowl in which he attended with several other Golden Domers.

Tranquill eventually became the Chargers’ fourth-round pick in 2019, getting selected 130th overall.

It didn’t take him long at all to make his presence felt with the Bolts. In fact, less than a single regular game. Against the Colts, Tranquill helped spur the team’s overtime victory with his first career blocked punt as a professional. Later, he did it again, cementing himself as the team’s special team’s ace in his first season. In just three starts and 15 games played, he was second on the team with 75 total tackles, four for loss, and a single pass breakup on top of the two blocked kicks.

Basic Info

Height: 6’2
Weight: 235
College: Notre Dame
Experience: 1
Years with team: 1

Contract Status

“Drue Tranquill signed a 4 year, $3,178,808 contract with the Los Angeles Chargers, including a $658,808 signing bonus, $658,808 guaranteed, and an average annual salary of $794,702. In 2020, Tranquill will earn a base salary of $675,000, while carrying a cap hit of $839,702 and a dead cap value of $494,106.” - Spotrac.com

The Good

Tranquill burst onto the scene in week one against the Colts when he blocked a punt in his first real professional football game. He added to his excellent special teams play by blocking another punt against the Packers in a big win for the Chargers.

He finished the year with 75 total tackles, just behind Thomas Davis for the team lead. Tranquill showed excellent movement skills and was somehow able to keep up with Tyreek Hill on a seam route during their game at Arrowhead. As a former safety, he possesses above-average athleticism for the position which allows him to make explosive breaks on underneath routes and help with corralling ball-carriers in the flats.

This season could be massive for Tranquill if he’s able to improve on all the momentum he gained as a rookie this past season.

The Bad

Tranquill finished his rookie season with the second-most tackles on the team last season, yet finished with a worrisome 8% missed-tackle rate. He’ll have to become a little more sure-handed, but I’m confident that will come with more snaps and experience.

Odds of making the roster/What to expect in 2020?

Tranquill is making this final roster as a key rotational linebacker with a chance at winning the starting WILL linebacker job over newly-signed Nick Vigil. After his promising play in 2019, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him take the job and run. The jury is out on whether or not he will still play a ton of special teams, but again, I think that will depend on if he starts or not.