With the 2023 NFL Draft just a month away, there have been many mock drafts, player profiles and position lists for the top players. While some of us "draft nerds" like to watch tape and scout players, I realize that this isn't for everyone. But everyone likes lists. You can put up a top five of anything from wing flavors to hip hop artists and get a reaction. So why not make one for 2022 draft prospects where everyone from the draft diehards to the casual fan can put in their two cents? However, these lists will be slightly different. Since we are on a Los Angeles Chargers fan site, I will not give the top 5 consensus players at each position. I will give the top 5 players I have watched tape on and how I see them fit with the Los Angeles Chargers, as well as one sleeper or player the casual fan has not heard of to make up our player six pack. We will get to each position group, (except QB) before the draft but the first one up will be CB.
1. Joey Porter Jr, Penn State: Porter not only has the pedigree, but the attitude and measurables (6-2, 193/ 4.46 forty) to be an elite CB1 in the NFL. He is scheme versatile as he can play man or zone, but I think he is at his best when he can play press man and get his hands on the WR. For this reason and with his ability and willingness to be a physical tackler in the run game, makes him an ideal fit for the Chargers scheme.
2. Devon Witherspoon, Illinois: While he did not test at the combine, Witherspoon had the best 2022 collegiate season of any prospect. He is as competitive as they come and is the most instinctive CB in the draft. He excels in man coverage, but not necessarily press man, as he has a tendency to be overpowered off the line. His skill set does not seem to fit a pure zone-base scheme, but he has the athleticism, awareness and closing ability to be effective. He would be a good fit with the Chargers because of his willingness to tackle and his man-to-man ability, where he could be put on an island against other teams WR1 and give the rest of the defense the versatility to toggle coverages.
3. Deonte Banks, Maryland: Banks absolutely blew up the combine with his display of speed (4.35 forty) and athleticism. While Banks has the size and skill set to be an outside CB, I think he can come in immediately and be a top slot defender with his ability to dominate the short to intermediate part of the field. He excels in press man and sheds blocks extremely well to make tackles at or near the line of scrimmage. He would fit well with the Chargers to immediately take over slot duty left vacant by the departure of Callahan, and can be outside CB insurance for JC Jackson. He also gives the Chargers great versatility if they decide to move ASJ inside permanently or against any injury in the CB unit.
4: Clark Phillips III, Utah: Phillips might be the most physical CB in the draft. The guy loves to come up and make plays in run defense, and he is not just looking to wrap up, he is looking to lay the wood. He is an extremely confident and cocky player, who almost dares the competition to beat him over the top. While he has a tendency to play to physical at times, you love to see that attitude. CP3 is not as fast (4.51 forty), to be a full-time press man CB in the Chargers system, but he still has the feet and technique to play off man and is very good in zone where he can read and react, especially in run defense.
5. Christian Gonzalez, Oregon: Gonzalez is a slightly polarizing because his testing and athletic profile is elite, but his collegiate production was limited to the 2022 season after transferring from Colorado. While not strong enough to play press man, he has the fluidity and speed to comfortably play off man. He has the size and ability to play isolation man, locking down one half of the field. He is a willing tackler, with more of a lunge and wrap style instead of trying to impact the defender. While he does not have the best instincts in zone coverage, he certainly has enough speed and athleticism to be productive. He would be a good fit for the Chargers with his elite speed and reaction ability to play off man coverage, but he would need to show more effort in run support to be a day one starter in Staley's scheme. While not necessarily a natural fit for our defense, the physical profile is to strong to ignore.
6. Mekhi Blackmon, USC: Blackmon has not gotten much buzz from pundits for this draft cycle, but he should not be overlooked. While he is slightly smaller (5-11, 178) than your typical blue-chip prospects, he still boasts a 4.47 forty and superior man coverage ability. He is best playing press man coverage where he likes to get position and mirror the defender after his initial punch. He is also just as comfortable in the slot as he is outside. His tackling prowess leaves much to be desired as he prefers to get in front of a defender and slow him up waiting for the cavalry to arrive. He would be a good fit for the Chargers with his ability to play or either off or press man from the slot with the ability to develop more strength to play outside.