10 IN 10: LOS ANGELES CHARGERS
There are now just days left until the NFL Draft. This new ‘10 in 10’ series will look at each team picking in the top ten, having started with the Cleveland Browns on Tuesday and finishing with the Cincinnati Bengals next Thursday. For a more considered, in-depth look at the perfect picks for each team check out the good work of my fellow contributors at The Touchdown here:
For the purposes of simplicity, no trades will be considered in this countdown unless they occur in the days leading up to the draft itself. Each article will look at individual team needs before deciding on the right pick for each franchise, whilst also considering some alternatives at that spot.
#6: LOS ANGELES CHARGERS
The Chargers could either take a safe bet on a top offensive lineman here, or roll the dice on a new quarterback. There are suggestions that Tua Tagovailoa will fall past Miami at #5, but I’m not buying it. Rumours of Tua’s slide are most likely the result of a team wanting to take him further down the board. It might even be the Chargers themselves. Maybe the Dolphins are behind this talk because they don’t want to have to trade up for him? I just can’t see Miami passing on the Alabama QB with their first pick, their opinion on his health notwithstanding.
Therefore, I predict that Los Angeles will take Justin Herbert, quarterback of Oregon. Herbert is a prototypical prospect at the position, standing at 6’ 6” and 227 lbs. If you could create a quarterback in a laboratory, he’d come out looking like Herbert. His greatest attribute is his arm strength, followed by his general passing accuracy. He completed 67% of his passes last year, throwing 32 touchdowns and just 6 interceptions. Don’t let his size fool you either – Herbert can scramble as well. Often, this option is taken if his first read doesn’t materialise.
'THE MODERN DAY PROTOTYPE QB'
Herbert is a divisive prospect. His supporters rank him higher than Tua, particularly due to the latter’s health concerns. Others point to his poor footwork and lack of poise in the pocket. There are questions about his character, and whether he can handle the pressure of big games. His academic ability is unrivalled, and he will adapt well to memorising NFL playbooks. However, without a confident pocket presence and patience to run through his reads, how many of those passing plays will we see before he rushes?
A broken collarbone injury in 2018 may have some worrying about his durability. It seems as though his NFL career can go in two very different directions. If he finds himself working for a good coaching staff and behind a decent o-line, he could well be a franchise quarterback. However, if he ends up at the wrong franchise he could be another Josh Rosen – unable to show his potential before his reputation is damaged.
CHOICES FOR THE CHARGERS
The Chargers could go for a tackle here, with the top four prospects still on the board. That could allow them to focus on a QB in round two, with mobile prospects Jordan Love or Jalen Hurts potentially available. Anthony Lynn’s preference for an athlete under center could also mean they take a chance on Cam Newton…
However, the temptation to gamble on Herbert could prove irresistible. Tyrod Taylor is not a starting NFL quarterback, and at best can be a bridge between Philip Rivers and his eventual replacement. We saw at Cleveland that Taylor could not hold off competition from a first round rookie, and if the Bolts take Justin Herbert, expect him to be the Chargers starter before Thanksgiving weekend.
TOM WATCHED HIS FIRST EVER NFL GAME AT AN EX’S HOME IN NORTH CAROLINA IN 2013 AND “ENCOURAGED” TO SUPPORT THE INDIANAPOLIS COLTS. ONE BREAK-UP AND FOUR YEARS LATER, HE SWITCHED ALLEGIANCE TO THE JETS AND HAS BEEN OBSESSED WITH THE GAME EVER SINCE. TOM CAN BE FOUND ON TWITTER AT @DOWNTHEMANNYRD