Well, while it isn't quite draft season yet, it's never to early to start the process, so I had to start scratching my itch while watching a ton of college football the last two months. Seeing as the Chargers will most likely not be a playoff team, draft season will probably start sooner than expected around here. Since we still need to get a finalized draft order, we cannot be sure where we can realistically slot some prospects, but I decided to look through a few of the bigger names at positions I think could be first round targets for the Bolts. Of course, free agency and roster cuts, might change our needs, but for now let's just focus on positions and players that could make sense for the Chargers.
LAIATU LATU: EDGE UCLA
PRO: Fantastic first step often winning the rep at the snap, good hand fighting to keep him clean, can diagnose and react quickly, relentless motor, disruptive player
CON: Has a tendency to get sucked inside and lose the edge, can add functional strength to convert more speed to power, can stick to blocks, huge medical red flag as he briefly retired from football
Latu is an extremely talented player, with an extremely significant medical history as he had to briefly retire from football after a neck injury suffered in 2020 at University of Washington before transferring to UCLA. He is a quick, instinctive, edge player who has dominated the Pac-12 and was named College Football Comeback Player of the Year. The game I watched him dominate in was his matchup with USC, where he had 5 tackles, 2 sacks and was a menace all game.
While he is not the most athletic edge, he plays with good quickness and instinct to win most reps, and he has a relentless motor. He is listed at a proposed 265, but he seems leaner, and I think he measures lighter than that in pre-draft testing. With some weight training for functional strength, he could add some power to his game, and I think he can hold up as a 3 down NFL edge. I would be wary to add to much weight to his frame, as his game is more speed, quickness, and motor and I wouldn't want to sap his bread and butter for arbitrary weight. I think his hands and quickness can also lead him to be kicked inside for some pass rush as his ability could be a nightmare for interior blockers. Plus, how cool would it be to have two Pac-12 guys manning the edges for seasons to come? I'm sure we can think of some sweet nicknames for that tandem.