Perfect Picks: Los Angeles Chargers
With the NFL Draft approaching we will be looking at each team and evaluating where they need to improve. In this particular series we will run a seven round mock using the Draft Network Mock machine and find the ‘Perfect Picks’ for each franchise.
We will highlight four players that could help each team. This will feature picks 1 and 2, a mid round gem and a late round sleeper.
The Chargers appear to be an ideal landing sport for newly appointed head coach Brandon Staley. They have several blue-chip pieces and what appears to be a franchise quarterback for the future. While, they have moved to strengthen the depth of their squad, the Chargers will be praying for a dose of luck. Injuries have too often derailed a talented team on paper. Could some solid rookie additions turn this team into a playoff contender?
Round 1 - Pick 13 - Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern
The Chargers invested heavily in free agency to provide Justin Herbert with a serviceable offensive line. A series of missteps in previous drafts mean the position group needed a near complete overhaul. Corey Linsley and Matt Feiler will go some way to ease concerns but adding another strong piece is on the shopping list.
If Rashawn Slater makes it to the Chargers you expect them to race the card to the podium. Slater’s 33” inch arm means the NFL should see him as a tackle, but at 6’4 he should be equally accomplished on the interior. That flexibility meshes well in LA as they can experiment to find the best group possible moving forward. Slater is technically refined and excels getting to the next level. A high floor prospect and wise investment for first year head coach Brandon Staley.
Round 2 - Pick 47 - Joseph Ossai, Edge, Texas
Joseph Ossai won’t be every team’s cup of tea. Having played as a safety at the start of high school he has gradually worked his way closer to the line of scrimmage. At 6’4, 256lbs he still appears light on film and that means he projects better as a speed rusher as opposed to a base end. While he can be stone-walled by bigger tackles, he has flashy hands and non-stop intensity. In the right system you can expect Ossai to provide opposition linemen plenty of questions.
The ideal fit could be the Chargers. While Renaldo Hill is defensive coordinator, this will be Brandon Staley’s defense. There is a suggestion they will transfer back to a 3-4 scheme allowing Joey Bosa and in this case Ossai, a chance to attack from wider angles. Ossai’s ability to drop in coverage as well as bend the edge means he should have plenty of suitors if he is on the board in Day 2.
Mid Round Gem - Pick 97 - Trill Williams, CB, Syracuse
The departure of Casey Hayward leaves the Chargers cornerback group with major question marks. Chris Harris and Michael Davis are presumptive starters but the Chargers will have to make a move to find reinforcements come draft day.
Trill Williams spent the last years playing in the slot for Syracuse. On tape, it appeared to be an uneasy marriage. While he graded out at 74.9 for PFF in 2020, Williams’ skill set would surely be better utilised on the outside. His 6’2 frame lacked the twitch and flexibility against smaller slot receivers but it’s clear he has the long speed and vertical coverage ability to succeed outside. A sure tackler, even though he doesn’t pop coming downhill he could have some safety versatility also.
Late Round Sleeper - Pick 185 - Paris Ford, S, Pittsburgh
The Chargers remain undermanned at the safety position. They expect to welcome back Derwin James to pair with the developing Nasir Adderley. With only Alohi Gilman in reserve, further depth is needed. Once you add in the injury history of James, it should be no surprise to see Tom Telesco add another new face in the secondary.
The pro day circuit has caused some ‘wow’ moments as prospects post ultra-quick times and mammoth reps. Perhaps the biggest surprise of the season was the negative impact that Pittsburgh’s measurements had. In particular, veteran safety Paris Ford’s results left a lot to be desired. The whole workout was a disaster, in particular a pedestrian 4.9 40-yard dash.
However, those athletic limitations aren’t glaring on tape, suggesting he has the football IQ to mask them. Indeed he was widely projected to be a mid round pick up until his testing day. It will be a difficult hurdle to overcome but it’s reasonable to think that someone will take a gamble to secure Ford late in the draft. The hope being he can find a home as a backup safety and spot starter.
Draft In Full:
13. Rashawn Slater, Northwestern (OT)
47. Joseph Ossai, Texas (Edge)
77. Trey Smith, Tennessee (iOL)
97. Trill Williams, Syracuse (CB)
118. Monty Rice, Georgia (LB)
159. Kenny Yeboah, Ole Miss (TE)
185. Paris Ford, Pittsburgh (S)
198. Jemar Jefferson, Oregon State (RB)
241. Jaelon Darden, North Texas (WR)
formerly writing for the inside zone, rory will be breaking down college tape and keeping you up-to-date with all things CFB for the touchdown. an avid bengals fan, you can also find some of rory’s work at stripehype.com.