Jason Verrett wants team to go defense in first round of NFL draft


San Diego Chargers cornerback Jason Verrett isn’t hiding who he wants his team to select in the first round of the NFL draft at the end of the month.

“To keep it real — damn — I want Buckner, that’s who I want,” Verrett told Eric D. Williams of ESPN.“I’m going to be honest with you. I’ve watched him on film, and that’s when I was at TCU and I went back there for their pro day. I went in the film room and watched him in our bowl game, because TCU played Oregon in the bowl game. So I went and watched that, and that’s the type of player I like.”

Jason Verrett says he trusts Chargers to draft best player in first round. But he wants Oregon DE DeForest Buckner. Seen him play plenty.

— Michael Gehlken (@sdutGehlken) April 18, 2016

You have to respect Verrett for being honest, as players usually give the politically correct, team-first answers to questions like this.

But no matter how you slice it, the Chargers have a hill to climb in the AFC West. Though the Denver Broncos lost several key players this offseason, they are still the defending Super Bowl champions. Both the Kansas City Chiefs and Oakland Raiders made strides to get better through free agency as well.

Verrett feels that the best way to close the gap would be to add an elite pass-rush specialist. The move makes sense, as the Chargers registered only 32 sacks last year. Only eight teams had fewer.

Bringing in a player that can consistently get pressure on the quarterback can help take pressure off Verrett as the team’s No. 1 cornerback, which is likely the real reason he wants the team to draft Buckner.

Jalen Ramsey says most interest from #Chargers, #Cowboys, #Ravens, #Jags. And he said again, "I still think I'm the best player in draft.''

— Ed Werder (@Edwerderespn) April 14, 2016

Choosing Buckner with the No. 3 overall pick is a distinct possibility. Both so is taking Jalen Ramsey or Laremy Tunsil. Choose a mock draft that’s out there right now, there’s no real consensus for that choice. Trading the pick is a legitimate option as well.

It makes sense that a cornerback would like a slick young pass rusher to come in as the team’s top draft pick, but Verrett should consider how much better his own unit—the secondary—would be with Ramsey in it. Does he not want to be overshadowed by a young, do-it-all rookie like Ramsey, or does he have that much confidence in guys like Brandon Flowers, Jahleel Addae and Dwight Lowery? Perhaps he legitimately feels Buckner is the better player or perhaps we’re looking way too far into things.

Either way, Buckner is Verrett’s choice at No. 3. Will he also be Tom Telesco’s? In just over one week, we’ll finally find out.