Though the 2016 free-agent market is just days away from opening, the San Diego Chargers and the rest of the league should not lose focus on the upcoming NFL draft. It is beginning to get increasingly likely that the Chargers will select either Jalen Ramsey out of Florida State or Oregon’s DeForest Buckner with the No. 3 overall pick in the draft.
It is also increasingly likely that the team will bypass Ohio State’s Joey Bosa with that pick.
The consensus you’ll find in reading these mock drafts is that the Tennessee Titans will select Laremy Tunsil with the first pick and the Cleveland Browns will take a quarterback with the second pick. The Chargers have multiple needs, but a pass-rush specialist and a playmaking safety are at the top of that list.
Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times feels the Chargers will take care of that pass-rush need by choosing Buckner with the No. 3 selection. Buckner is a freak athlete who racked up 36 sacks in four seasons at Oregon, including 17 during his senior year. He displays a quick first step and at 6’7″ and 300 pounds, he is also quite powerful. When he can’t get to the quarterback, Buckner shows the ability to bat down passes at the line of scrimmage. On top of all of that, he is also adept as a run defender.
But, would he be a better fit than Bosa, a player many analysts feel is the best player in the entire draft?
Meanwhile, Lance Zierlien of NFL.com has the Chargers selecting Ramsey. Eric Weddle is going to find a new home this offseason, so adding Ramsey to the secondary makes plenty of sense. In addition, Zierlien has Bosa falling all the way to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at No. 9.
Feb 29, 2016; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Florida State Seminoles defensive back Jalen Ramsey catches a pass during the 2016 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
Ramsey can play cornerback or safety, and he’d bring a physical element that San Diego could really use. In addition to being a solid tackler, Ramsey displays good ball skills. On film, his coverage skills will remind many of Richard Sherman.
Both of these players would be great options for the Chargers, but you also have to consider Bosa, who was a terror on the Ohio State defensively line. He notched double-digits in sacks from 2013-2015 and had 21.5 sacks as a sophomore. He’s tough against the run and has few weaknesses.
The #Chargers biggest need is FS and Jalen Ramsey would be their best bet at No. 3, but a 2nd top 3-4 DE could help their defense the most.
— NFL Spin Zone (@NFLSpinZone) February 25, 2016
Many teams would love to be able to get Bosa, but Buckner may be a better fit for the defense that John Pagano likes to run.
With all of this said, the Titans and Browns seem to have a clear direction for the top two picks in the draft. The first real dilemma will fall on Tom Telesco and the Chargers. So, who would you like the Chargers to get? Buckner, Ramsey, Bosa or somebody else?
Much can change between now and the end of April, particularly with free agency looming and the Chargers having the cap space to make some moves.