With Chargers in nickel defense so often, which draft pick makes sense?
By Ernie Padaon
As much as we want to look for a defensive end that fits in the Chargers 3-4 defense, we should be looking for someone that fits in the Chargers nickel defense even more. As much as we like to think that the Chargers run out of that 3-4 base all the time, this team leans on the nickel defense all the time.
Tom Telesco worked hard to bring in a solid 3rd corner onto his defense. He spent the dough to ensure that Casey Hayward would be on the roster and he will be on the field often. Brandon Flowers will still be lining up as a starter with Jason Verrett locked in on the other corner spot. All these corners can support in the run game and John Pagano will be leaning on that nickel defense all season.
When the Chargers are in the nickel, Corey Liuget usually is one of the defensive lineman that stayed on the field and the team rotated another defensive line player onto the field. With the addition of Brandon Mebane in free agency, the Chargers likely will use Liuget and Mebane as the main linemen up front in the nickel.
In the Chargers nickel, the team lined up two defensive linemen and had Melvin Ingram and Jerry Attaochu as their ends. Denzel Perryman and Manti Te’o lined up at linebacker and then we had the 5 players in the secondary.
With the Chargers in the nickel defense so often, which player in the draft would be able to give the Chargers the most production?
Right now, our safety situation is the weakest part of the team. We have a pair of guys that should be backups somewhere. Jalen Ramsey is getting a ton of hype and could be used as a solid starter over Jahleel Addae or Dwight Lowery. Another solid playmaker that could be available in the 2nd round of the draft would be Karl Joseph. Either of those players would be a solid addition to our secondary. We should target one of those guys in the draft.
What does that mean for Joey Bosa or DeForest Buckner? There are question marks about Bosa and his off the field activities. That will be something that we will all be keeping our eyes on and Tom Telesco definitely will be doing his homework.
It is all about production for Telesco. If he wants the best pass rusher in the draft, then he would go after Bosa. In Bosa’s 3 seasons in college ball, he has 26 sacks in comparison to Buckner’s 18 sacks in his 4 seasons.
In the nickel defense, Bosa could play at the end position in that 4 man front. The Chargers have struggled to get to the quarterback and we have done nothing to address that situation in free agency. Bosa is the best pass rusher in the draft and he would give the team strong run support out of the nickel defense at the end position as well . A lot of people believe that Bosa doesn’t fit our defensive scheme, but he would be on the field constantly since the Chargers lean on the nickel defense all the time. We used Dwight Freeney a lot while he was on the roster and Bosa would get the same amount of playing time.
If Telesco does the homework and believes that Joey Bosa will be clean, expect to see him on the roster. Bosa in the 1st and Karl Joseph in the 2nd round would make this defense very solid.
Who is the Chargers targets on defense with this team leaning on the nickel so often?