The Chargers will likely draft three to four players this year who spent time in Mobile, Alabama for this year’s Senior Bowl. A casual fan would tell me that’s a bold statement to make, but history tells us it’s almost a foregone conclusion at this point. Tom Telesco loves his Senior Bowl players and there’s plenty of intriguing prospects this year, as well.
Below, I wrote up three players I would love to see on the Chargers in 2023.
CB Julius Brents, Kansas State
Brents has very intriguing size at 6’4 and 210 pounds. He’s a physical corner with elite length and a solid fundamental base that allows him to find success despite not being an over-the-top athlete at the position.
After three years at the University of Iowa, Brents transferred to Kansas State where he found enjoyed a solid stint in Manhattan over his final two years of eligibility.
In his first season with the Wildcats, Brents posted 49 tackles, three tackles for loss, one interception, and three pass breakups. After earning Honorable Mention All-Big 12 accolades in 2021, Brents broke out in his final season with four interceptions and eight pass breakups en route to being named to the All-Big 12 First Team and earning an invite to the Senior Bowl.
Throughout his week in Mobile, Brents saw his draft stock rise with his strong and consistent performance. Executive Director of the Senior Bowl Jim Nagy tweeted out that “few guys boosted their draft stock more at the Senior Bowl” than the lengthy corner.
NFL scouts tell us few guys boosted their draft stock more at @seniorbowl than K-State CB Julius Brents. 6030v w/ record-setting 82 7/8 wing. DB teach tape stuff here. Textbook tight-man focus.— Jim Nagy (@JimNagy_SB) February 17, 2023
Rarely see 1-on-1 rep where QB doesn’t even throw it. #TheDraftStartsInMOBILE™️ pic.twitter.com/DvZMizYPCF
Prior to the all-star showcase, many scouts believed Brents’ limited top speed could hamper his chances in man coverage at the next level. However, as you can see in the video above, Brents did his best to put those concerns to bed with some excellent reps in 1-on-1 situations.
What I think I like best about Brents’ game is his willingness to mix it up in the run game. He’s quick to close on ball carriers and his insane arm length helps him get those shoe string tackles that can be the difference in a big gain or a short one.
Lastly, Brents’ physical makeup tells me he could make a very easy transition to safety, should cornerback for whatever reason no work out in the NFL. That’s likely crazy talk, but another pseudo-chess piece on defense is never a bad thing.
EDGE Will MCDonald
During his redshirt freshman season, McDonald transitioned from linebacker to defensive end and ended up recording six sacks to rank second on the team. He officially began to break out in 2020 with 10.5 sacks and 13.5 tackles for loss, both of which led the team and ranked among the best nationally.
McDonald continued to improve into his junior season by racking up a career-high 11.5 sacks and 14 tackles for loss. His efforts earned him a nod to the Associated Press’ All-American third team and recognition as the Big 12’s Co-Defensive Lineman of the Year.
After 54 games played in college and a strong week at the Senior Bowl, this seems like a foregone conclusion that the Chargers will be interested in McDonald during this year’s draft cycle.
Analysts from The Draft Network note McDonald’s high motor and notable length as some of his biggest pros as a prospect. On the other side, they are left wanting more from him as a run defender. As it normally is with these leaner pass rushers, adding more mass to improve play strength is a common theme.
Unlike Chris Rumph II, McDonald’s frame looks more filled out as a prospect heading into the draft. He can still stand to gain some mass, but I don’t come away from McDonald’s film thinking he couldn’t handle a decent role as a rookie.
With a nasty spin move headlining his pass rush tool box, I really like McDonald to potentially add some juice to the Chargers’ pass rush.
TE Luke Musgrave
At 6’6 and 250 pounds, it’s easy to love what you see on the face with Musgrave. He’s got the prototypical size for the position and he’s shown to have some juice as a runner when given the opportunity to show it. At the Senior Bowl, Nagy posted on Twitter that Musgrave hit 20.58 mph during one of the practices which was the 16th fastest time among all players in attendance.
He even went as far as to tease that Musgrave may run into the 4.4s during next month’s combine.
Top size/speed combo at @seniorbowl? It was Oregon State TE Luke Musgrave, who had 16th fastest max speed (20.05 mph) of any player…AT 255 lbs! Next heaviest who ran faster was Cincy LB Ivan Pace Jr (20.58 at 231 lbs). Trusted sources think Musgrave could run 4.4 at Combine. pic.twitter.com/qa3xtXm3WA— Jim Nagy (@JimNagy_SB) February 11, 2023
Musgrave was a seldom-used pass catcher for the Beavers but that hasn’t stopped scouts from realizing just how good of an athlete he is. He’s a willing and able blocker that competes his tail off to make a difference. In the passing game, he has the obvious speed to threaten linebackers up the seam and always attempts to make the catch at the highest point.
Likely to be selected early on day three, Musgrave’s skillset and athleticism is enticing, especially if new offensive coordinator Kellen Moore can get the most out of him early on.