The Chargers need to act now as the Phillip Rivers window is closing fast. The Chargers have a solid team, especially offense, and need to add help in the draft to make a playoff push.
For the Los Angeles Chargers Phillip Rivers is not getting any younger, although his play might tell you different. That isn’t to say that the Chargers should not use some draft capital on a possible replacement. They have the running back position secured, employing one of the top five in the business, Melvin Gordon. Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson form a solid back up punch and insurance for Gordon. The offensive line was a solid group ranking 5th in run blocking and 13th in pass protection.
Hunter Henry is the replacement for Antonio Gates but he is coming off of a torn ACL. Maybe some insurance there would be a great idea. At receiver they have always reliable Keenan Allen, up and coming red zone threat Mike Williams, and speedster Travis Benjamin. A solid sot receiver may be a smart addition for the Chargers.
On the defensive line the Chargers have a solid nose tackle in Brandon Mebane to clog the middle. Adding a defensive tackle with some solid pass rush to play next to him would be smart. On the edge they have two top-notch defensive ends in Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram. Linebacker is where they get a little thin as they re-signed often injured Denzel Perryman who is a solid player but needs to stay healthy. Kyzir White should also win one of the starting jobs and they have Jatavis Brown, who lost his job to White, and Thomas Davis who only has one season left in him.
They have two great corners in Desmond King and Casey Heyward with some decent secondary options in Trevor Williams and Michael Davis. At safety the Chargers have one of the best in Derwin James and Adrian Phillips who played very well last season. After those two the team is very thin and should look to the draft for help.
Round 1, Pick #28 Jerry Tillery, Defensive Tackle- Notre Dame
Tillery has a very long and incredibly strong build. He has potential to be a dominant force in the middle. Tillery still has the potential to get a little bigger and add even more strength to his frame. Tillery uses his strength to bully lineman if he gets his hands on them first. If he gets his hands into you he will move you and pull you easily. With a freight-train-like bull rush Tillery should make a living in team’s backfields. Tillery is exactly the man who the Chargers should add next to Mebane.
Round 2, Pick #60 Rock Ya-Sin, Cornerback- Temple
Rock Ya-Sin has the perfect body for an NFL cornerback. Ya-Sin only has one year of college FBS experience. In that one season he was a First Team All-American in the Athletic Conference. He totaled 47 tackles, two for a loss, 12 passes defended and two interceptions. Physically and athletically he can hang with almost any receiver, he just needs to brush up on his technique. With two good starters on the outside the Chargers can be the patient with Rock Ya-Sin in the hopes that he reaches his potential.
Round 3, Pick #92 Mecole Hardman, Wide Receiver- Georgia
Hardman has only been a receiver for two seasons now and has shown rapid improvement each season. Hardman ran a 4.33 second 40 yard dash at the combine showing his speed burst and quickness. With short area quickness Hardman can find a niche in the NFL as a slot man. A reliable slot presence is something that Phillip Rivers has never really had and can use his unusual arm angles to find Hardman on slants and screens.
Round 4, Pick #131 Greg Gaines, Defensive Tackle- Washington
Greg Gaines is not speedy or overly athletic and has very short arms for a defensive tackle. What he does posses is incredible strength, an unreal motor and a quick first step. Gaines is the sort of guy who you use to spell your starters and just tell him to go in there and just push. He is relentless in his pursuit and his quick first step allows him to shoot gaps and get behind the line of scrimmage. He has a solid anchor as his strength is a plus and does provide some bull rush. Gaines would be a welcome addition due to how thin the team is at the position.
Round 5, Pick #167 Chuma Edoga, Offensive Tackle- USC
Edoga is supremely smooth and incredibly quick footed for a tackle. He is an elite run blocker as he has shown rare ability to make blocks. He has deficiencies in his pass protection but can be coached. His speed allows him to be quick out of his stance and beat rushers to their spot on the edge. Edoga does not have to start right away as the Chargers have a solid group but adding a promising tackle in the fifth round is sometimes too hard to pass up.
Round 6, Pick #202 Ryan Finley, Quarterback- N.C. State
Finley is a transfer from Boise St. and has started his three seasons since he got to N.C. State. Since he arrived he has had three straight seasons over 3,000 passing yards and almost 4,000 his Senior year. Finley has a career 64.2 percent completion percentage which is very solid. Although his touchdown numbers do not jump out at you, he has a very high football IQ. He baits safeties with his eyes, reads coverages well and has experience in a pro style offense. With Rivers reign coming to an end soon in L.A. Finley can learn from him and possibly take over when he retires.
Round 7, Pick #244 Jonathan Crawford, Safety- Indiana
Crawford is a value and depth pick in the seventh round. He has NFL size at the position and has been reliable for his entire collegiate career. Crawford does not get baited easily and has the versatility to play both safety positions. His diagnosis of offenses allows him to be helpful in run help. The Chargers only have Derwin James and Adrian Phillips as safeties on their roster right now and Crawford would slot in as the first man off the bench. If Phillips underwhelms as a full-time starter or is moved to linebacker again then Crawford can step in.
The Chargers build the one position that they really need help at and that is defensive tackle. They added Jerry Tillery from Notre Dame in the first round and he has the potential to be a true game changer at the position. Then they added relentless Greg Gaines from Washington in the fourth round to add depth and give the Chargers more bodies to the rotation. Rock Ya-Sin was added in the second round as he owns all the size and skills needed to be a lock-down corner with some coaching. If he reaches his potential than having Desmond King, Casey Heyward and himself would be a great trio.
They add help to the offense drafting Mecole Hardman in the third round giving Phillip Rivers a short area target to dump off to. They also bolster their offensive line adding run blocking specialist and athletic tackle Chuma Edoga in the fifth. With the teams sixth round pick they find a potential future replacement for Phillip Rivers in efficient Ryan Finley. Finley has the football smarts and learning from Rivers for a couple of years would be great for him. With their final pick the Chargers add depth to their safety group drafting versatile safety Jonathan Crawford. The Chargers look more ready to compete in the AFC.
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