So many prospects to love as a fit for the Chargers
but only a few REAL options
With the Chargers holding the 28th pick in this year’s draft it’s hard to pinpoint exactly who will be available and who won’t be, as one never knows what may happen on draft day to shake up draft boards. Let me be clear about what I mean when I say “real” options. The team is in “win now” mode as they already made a strong push in the playoff last season. When a team makes a push like the Chargers did they can afford to trust in the roster they have and directly address what appeared to be the weaknesses that hindered them ultimately. Most would agree that the run defense up the middle is what killed them against the evil empire. This was due to either injuries to the linebacker corps and simply that the play of the defensive tackles was simply not up to par. The other weakness would be the line on the other side of the ball, more specifically the right side of the offensive line. Sam Tevi and Michael Schofield simply could not hack it as starters and they were completely exposed against New England. While they do have one in house replacement in Forrest Lamp, who can play either guard or tackle, they will more than likely need another replacement. Lamp should have been playing all along but that’s another discussion for another day as I feel coach Lynn was totally wrong in his decision. This year’s draft is loaded with options for fixing the interior defensive line and run defense. In fact I would like Tom Telesco to even double dip at the position and take two defensive tackles. The 28th pick is tricky as you may have someone slip that was not expected to fall that far or you may even want to trade up a bit in order to obtain the player you want the most, or the team can simply stay put and reach a tiny bit and select a player that is projected to be an early second rounder. There are several players I would be more than happy with selecting or even reaching on however this article is about whom I think would make the most of with the 28th pick.
First up is a guy that has always been number one on my wish list and that’s Christian Wilkins out of Clemson. It’s hard to predict where Wilkins might end up be drafted as mock drafts have him mocked all over the place. I have seen him being selected in the top ten and as far down as 31. Wilkins was an absolute monster for Clemson and proved to be a huge part and key player in them winning the national championship. I had Wilkins pegged last year for the Chargers in the second round yet he stayed in school and his gamble on himself work to his favor. He was voted first team all American and first team all ACC. His stat sheet was also impressive with 57 tackles, 15 for a loss, 6 sacks, with 2 forced fumbles. Coming in at 6’3” 315 pounds, not only does he possess the stereotypical size but he also has more than enough athletic ability one would look for in a defensive tackle. He has the versatility to play any technique asked of him and even has shown the ability to play defensive end if necessary. All of that alone would make him all the most desirable for any team but he also has all of the leadership traits and IQ that makes him the total package. One notable fact that points to his IQ is the fact that he earned and completed his degree in just two in a half years. I’m so impressed by him in fact that he would be the one player I would trade up for. It is not worth it to trade up into the top 10 yet if he managed to fall into the mid teen’s it would behoove the team to strongly consider it as you wouldn’t want him lining up against us wearing silver and black. The team shouldn’t let the Raiders have three first round picks in front of them.
The second player I would consider a real option is right tackle Dalton Risner from Kansas State. Risner is 6’5” 312 pounds. In 2018 Risner was named to the second team all American at right tackle, in 2017 he was first team all Big-12 also at tackle. In 2016 he was also an all Big-12 lineman except at center where he won the job as a freshman. Now it has been said by a few scouts that they would like to see him move inside to the guard position at the next level. If you remember the same was said of Forrest Lamp who can compete and interchange between guard and tackle with Risner. Whichever one wins the tackle job, the other should slide to guard. I always like my lineman to have a mean streak and Risner has just that. I believe that the combo of both Risner and Lamp to replace the right side of the line along with a bit of health, I believe that would make them a top ten offensive line in football to pair with Pouncey and Okung. While he isn’t the most athletic lineman out there he also makes up for that with good anticipation and is great with his hand fighting. Whether he plays guard or tackle he would be a much welcomed addition up front and an instant upgrade from either Schofield or Tevi. I would only take Risner if he is still available at pick number 28 as I wouldn’t trade up. If he is off the board I would be more than comfortable reaching on a prospect with a high second round grade such as Gerald Willis from Miami. It is still unknown if the team is comfortable with only using Lamp as an in house fix or if they would welcome a new addition up front.
Every year crazy things happen in the draft and the way general manager Tom Telesco has been drafting over the last few years I have no doubt the team will find a way to fill the holes necessary to take this team to the next level. While some would say they would prefer the team to draft a free safety or another linebacker in the first, to them I would say the game is won in the trenches. First you have to win the battles up front and then everything else becomes a little easier.