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Draft Analysis

NFL Draft Needs: Chargers

by Evan Silva
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

Evan Silva (@EvanSilva) is the Senior Football Editor for Rotoworld's NFL Page, and Josh Norris (@JoshNorris) leads Rotoworld's college football and NFL draft coverage. Together, they're breaking down every team's biggest needs and offering potential draft-day solutions.

For a breakdown on every team, check out the team-by-team draft preview schedule.


No. 1 Team Need: Defensive Line



Silva's Analysis


Last year's Chargers ranked 32nd in Football Outsiders' run-defense DVOA, in large part because their defensive line got ragdolled on a consistent basis. GM Tom Telesco has taken some steps toward rectifying the issue, signing ex-Seahawks NT Brandon Mebane and letting 2012 second-round disappointment Kendall Reyes walk. The Bolts could use multiple additions to enhance their up-front rotation.


No. 2 Team Need: Safety

Silva's Analysis

After losing Eric Weddle to Baltimore, the Chargers papered over free safety by signing Dwight Lowery in free agency. At strong safety, undersized and physically brittle Jahleel Addae sits atop the depth chart. Addae is in a contract year and has missed eight games over the last two seasons. Ideally, the Chargers would find an upgrade in the starting lineup and use Addae as a third safety/special teamer.


No. 3 Team Need: Center

Silva's Analysis

Almost the entire Chargers’ offensive line was dysfunctional last season, although much of it could be chalked up to bad injury luck. The one position where San Diego clearly needs a personnel upgrade is center. 2014 third-round pick Chris Watt simply hasn't been able to cut it when healthy. The Chargers want to become a more physical offense under returning OC Ken Whisenhunt, and figure to target a center capable of clearing running lanes. Elsewhere on the roster, San Diego could use a young tight end to learn from 36-year-old (in June) Antonio Gates and inside linebacker depth.


Norris' Mock Draft

Round 1 (3): DL DeForest Buckner, Oregon - If the Browns select a quarterback at No. 2, the Chargers will be deciding between Buckner, Jalen Ramsey, and Laremy Tunsil. I would not be surprised if Buckner is the team’s No. 1-graded prospect. He fills a need and offers plenty of upside thanks to his tools and frame. That “potential” comes to fruition in the running game in one on one situations. However he needs to improve on double teams and counter moves when his initial momentum is stopped.


Round 2 (35): S Keanu Neal, Florida - A true enforcer at the strong safety spot. Neal is looking for the big hits and to fly into the box on unsuspecting ball carriers and receivers. The Chargers might have their pick of the litter here with Neal, T.J. Green, Vonn Bell and others.


Round 3 (66): C Isaac Seumalo, Oregon State - The NFL likes Seumalo a lot more than fans and media analysts. Unless his medical does not check out, expect Seumalo to be a second day selection. He played guard last year, but should return to his previous position of center. The coach’s son is an early career starter.


Round 4 (102): TE Nick Vannett, Ohio State - The run on tight ends will dictate how early Vannett goes off the board. He has an inline frame and skills, but Vannett was used from a variety of alignments while at Ohio State. He is a solid blocker and receiver.


Round 5 (175): TE Tyler Higbee, WKU - Back to back tight ends? Why not? Consider Higbee the Ladarius Green replacement, as he is more of a receiver than inline option. Higbee can shine in the short to intermediate areas of the field, which Green occupied for the Chargers. Doubling up at a position, especially on day three, is not a crazy idea.


Round 6 (179): ILB Antonio Morrison, Florida - Morrison is a limited player athletically, but he is aggressive and is at his best moving forward and attacking ball carriers between the tackles.


Round 6 (198): T Brandon Shell, South Carolina - The Chargers love size at the tackle spot, and Shell offers that. His feet gave him issues against good competition at left tackle, but Shell’s size and length are assets to work with, especially on a team that has done that in the past.


Round 7 (224): QB Mike Bercovici, Arizona State - The Chargers struck out on Brad Sorensen a few years ago as a possible backup quarterback. My friends Matt Waldman and Lance Zierlein have talked up Bercovici as a possible Chase Daniel type.




Chargers Current Offensive Depth Chart


QB: Philip Rivers


RB: Melvin Gordon


WR: Keenan Allen


WR: Travis Benjamin


WR: Stevie Johnson


TE: Antonio Gates


LT: King Dunlap


LG: Orlando Franklin


C: Chris Watt


RG: D.J. Fluker


RT: Joe Barksdale


Chargers Current Defensive Depth Chart


RE: Corey Liuget


LE: Damion Square


NT: Brandon Mebane


ILB: Denzel Perryman


ILB: Manti Te'o


OLB: Jerry Attaochu


OLB: Melvin Ingram


RCB: Jason Verrett


LCB: Casey Hayward


FS: Dwight Lowery


SS: Jahleel Addae

Evan Silva
Evan Silva is a senior football editor for Rotoworld.com. He can be found on Twitter .