UPDATE: If it comes down to Jordan Davis vs. Trevor Penning, expect the Chargers to go with the OT
UPDATE: Los Angeles has signed cornerback J.C. Jackson to a five-year, $82.5 million deal that includes $40 million in guaranteed money, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
The Chargers have been busy.
First, Los Angeles signed receiver Mike Williams to a three-year, $60 million contract. Then the team traded for Chicago pass rusher Khalil Mack, giving up a second-round pick in this year’s draft and a sixth-round pick next year.
And now NFL Network’s Mike Giardi says the Chargers are expected “to be heavily involved with free agent corner(back) J.C. Jackson.”
But that still leaves glaring holes along the defensive line and at offensive tackle – and that puts Los Angeles in a bit of a tricky situation.
Take the top nose tackle or defensive end, then the team is less likely to have a shot at drafting a right tackle who could start from Day 1 opposite of left tackle Rashawn Slater.
On the other hand, Los Angeles needs to find help along its defensive line somewhere, as two of its three starters are unrestricted free agents.
Here’s a look at some of the Chargers’ options in Rounds 1 and 3:
Which player makes the most sense
While the top three OTs might not be available when Los Angeles is on the clock in Round 1, there’s a good chance that Smith or Raimann are still available. Out of the two, the 6-foot-5, 324-pound Smith makes more sense as he can play tackle or guard, which is another potential Chargers need. Smith is also one of the younger prospects in this draft. If the team brings back Bryan Bulaga, then Smith could fill in at right guard for a year before moving over to tackle in Year 2.
Wyatt, meanwhile, would likely play the 4-technique position in Los Angeles 3-4 defense, where current starter Justin Jones is an unrestricted free agent. However, Wyatt is the opposite of Smith in that he’s one of the older prospects in the draft. The 6-foot-4, 304-pound Wyatt will by 24 by the time the draft starts. That’s why you can’t rule out a player like Leal, who has seen his stock slip due to questions about what position he’s bested suited for (like Wyatt, Leal would likely be a 4-tech for the Chargers).
But Wyatt and especially Leal would be a bit of a reach at pick No. 17, so the choice likely comes down to Davis or the highest-rated offensive tackle.
If it’s Davis vs. Smith or Raimann, then the Georgia Bulldog would be hard to pass up.
However, if the Chargers have to decide between Davis vs. Penning or even Mississippi State’s Charles Cross, then taking an OT makes the most sense. The reason? As shocking as Davis’ 4.78-second 40 was at the recent Combine, he likely won’t be on the field more than 25 to 30 percent of the team’s defensive snaps. On the other hand, a starting offensive tackle should receive close to 100 percent of the snaps. Plus, frankly, OT is a premium position; DT is not.
Which player makes the most sense
Obviously, if the Chargers take an OT with their first pick, then they’ll likely look to fill some holes in Round 3 along the defensive line, as both Jones and nose tackle Linval Joseph are UFAs. The opposite is true, too: Los Angeles will likely take the next-best OT in this round if they go with a defensive tackle in Round 1.
Both Mitchell and Lucas have upside, but it’s hard to see either one of them excelling as a rookie starter. Same goes for Penn State’s Walker.
However, you would expect a defensive lineman taken in Round 3 to start for the Chargers. Jones and Ridgeway would serve as the new nose tackle, while Mathis – who has also seen his draft stock fall – can play NT or defensive end for Los Angeles.
Who will the Chargers wind up taking in Rounds 1 and 3? Find out here in Fanspeak’s latest mock draft for Los Angeles.
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