One of many breakout candidates from last year, will Drue Tranquill live up to last years hype?
One of many breakout candidates from last year, Drue Tranquill was primed for a big year. However, his season was cut short, to just 5 snaps, when he broke his ankle in week 1.
Why we liked him
In 2019 Tranquill played just 382 snaps, starting in only 3 games and playing in 15 total games. Over that short time he accumulated 69 combined tackles, or one tackle every 5.9 plays (for comparison in 2019 Bobby Wagner averaged a tackle every 7.3 plays).
Additionally, he was strong on special teams. Tranquill finished tied for the most special teams tackles by a rookie in the league with 11. Those 11 tackles were also good enough for second on his own team.
Drafted in the 4th round, he has a high football IQ, and is very disciplined, rarely do you find him moving away from his assignment. He is a very tough player, who isn’t afraid to make a big hit.
Why we didn’t like him
The Charger’s linebacking core has been ambiguous over the last few years. Heading into 2020, the biggest concern was Denzel Perryman. Perryman had the starting gig the year before, and was preferred by the coaching staff over Tranquill.
Why we still like him
The tackle numbers don’t change, they are still there. Unlike Perryman, who left for Carolina. Perryman leaving boosts Tranquill to the top of the depth chart. White will be a free agent after this season, who the Chargers can cut for a dead cap hit of only $163k.
Playing along side Kenneth Murray can only help him. Defenses will focus on Murrary, and Bosa allowing him to roam free. QB Justin Herbert should take another step forward next year, putting the Chargers in the position to be in the lead more often. That will give Tranquill more opportunity to blitz, or drop in coverage resulting valuable pass deflections and sacks. In his last two years at Notre Dame he totaled 7 pass deflections.
Benefits of a new coach
Anthony Lynn is gone, replaced by Brandon Staley, a former defensive coordinator and linebacker coach. Before coming to the chargers, he headed the Rams defense which held teams to a league low 18.5 points per game. He also coached the likes of Kahlil Mack in 2018, and Von Miller in 2019. Mack’s best sack season with the bears was in 2018 with Staley, this bodes wells for Tranquill who is a very good blitzer. He excels at timing the snap and shooting the gap. He is also good as a coverage linebacker.
New head coach Staley and new defensive coordinator Renaldo Hill are quoted as saying they plan to run a base 3-4 defense, but that they will “uniquely shape (the defense) around our guys”. You can expect to see Tranquill drop in coverage often, and blitz the QB when the time is right.
Ankle feels (REALLY) good. pic.twitter.com/9vnxSi9gSf
— Drue Tranquill (@DTranquill) March 18, 2021
I’m not saying he will be your LB1, but as a linebacker going later than the 40th linebacker off the board he will return better value than you invested. It is these late round picks that will help you win your league.