The decision by the Chargers to sign outside linebacker Kyler Fackrell on Wednesday evening helped inch us closer to a clearer prediction for the team’s draft strategy come late next month. An edge rusher was a consensus need for the team heading into the offseason with the expectation that Melvin Ingram was not going to return, along with the fact that Isaac Rochell was hitting free agency and not expected to be brought back.
So now that the Fackrell is a Bolt, what assumptions and predictions were truly altered? Well, to be fair, only some finer details changed, but I think it matters all the same.
The Chargers definitely need help on the edge, and that refers to both edges behind current starters Joey Bosa and Uchenna Nwosu. Before Fackrell, the only depth at either spot were 2020 UDFAs Joe Gaziano and Jesse Lemonier. Coincidentally, that gave either side one ideal backup. But with Fackrell, he adds one more piece at outside linebacker, which will now be viewed as an edge player in Brandon Staley’s defense. But what about actual, tangible depth behind Bosa? This is where the Fackrell signing affects the draft plan the most.
Newly signed Giants OLBer Kyler Fackrell had 10.5 sacks in 2018. Packers DC Mike Pettine used him a lot as a spy vs mobile QBs.— Giants Fans Online (@NYGFansOnline) March 17, 2020
Here is Fackrell vs Seahawks in 2018. #GiantsPride pic.twitter.com/tM5blAmBmB
Before yesterday, the Bolts could have gone with any type of edge rusher. Whatever player peaked their interest the most, there was a place for that prospect to see legitimate playing time as a rookie. Now, that spot is going to be only behind the Big Bear. That means a more traditional defensive end that plays with their hand in the dirt. Inherently, since Fackrell does add a body to the depth chart, the need also just isn’t as pressing from a “need people to fill the roster” standpoint. However, since edge rusher is a premium position and the best teams in the NFL know how to consistently get after quarterbacks, it’s still going to be a need that’s in the top-three of the priority list until they have a solidified rotation.
If an edge player was somehow your second-biggest need for the team, it’s definitely not there now. Offensive line and cornerback become the two biggest needs and I’d say they’re now in a tier all their own. After that, it’s edge rusher and potentially safety if you’re as worried about depth behind Derwin James and Nasir Adderley as I am.
At the end of the day, these are just my initial thoughts on the signing and what I personally believe will change when it comes to prepping for this year’s draft. If Bosa is truly an edge player in the Staley’s defense — something he told us himself — we have to assume that “role” will need a backup that can do Bosa’s job well enough, right? So that’s why I believe the pick won’t be a standup guy. The prospect I see in my head is in that 265 to 275-pound range who can play the run as well as he can rush the passer.
Maybe that’s Wake Forest’s Carlos Basham or Louisiana Tech’s Milton Williams, who is shooting up draft board after a phenomenal pro day workout. Either way, I like the prospects who look like they’ll be available late on day three.
Let me know what you think in the comments below. Does all of this make sense? Am I looking into it too much? Will they pick BPA and make all my feelings irrelevant (probably)?