Chargers Draft

Chargers 2018 draft: Linebacker or defensive tackle in first round?

CARSON, CA - OCTOBER 01: Brandon Mebane
CARSON, CA - OCTOBER 01: Brandon Mebane
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Every week, I’m going to give you Los Angeles Chargers’ fans and Bolt Beat readers a simple “Would You Rather” scenario to think about, discuss, and ultimately decide upon. Our first question deals with the upcoming 2018 draft.

I loved the discussion on the Tyrell Williams vs Travis Benjamin article, so much so that I would love to give you guys the chance to debate again. So here it is:

Would you rather the Chargers draft a defensive tackle or linebacker with their first-round pick?

Rules:

  1. Cannot move up or down in the draft
  2. Must use current Chargers’ roster (don’t assume free-agent acquisitions)
  3. In the comments, answer which position, which player and why

Scenario 1: Draft a defensive tackle

The Options:

  • Maurice Hurst, Michigan
  • Vita Vea, Washington
  • Da’Ron Payne, Alabama
  • Taven Bryan, Florida

Current Starters on roster:

  • Brandon Mebane: 33 years old, $4.5 million base salary, $5.5 million cap hit, PFF Grade: 43.1
  • Corey Liuget: 27 years old, $8 million base salary, $9.5 million cap hit, PFF Grade: 83.0
  • Darius Philon: 23 years old, $705,000 base salary, $735,149 cap hit, PFF Grade: 75.1

The case for drafting a defensive tackle:

Wouldn’t this look nice on the Chargers’ defensive line?

Watch DT 50 vita vea vs dbl team-Stout and powerful allows LB 7 to play peek a boo with RB….and eventually sheds and gets to ball pic.twitter.com/cIBkcjtboc

— Mike Mayock (@MikeMayock) January 8, 2018

It’s clear that Brandon Mebane’s days as a true run-stuffing starter on a defensive line have come to an end. He’s a great leader, but “leading” a team to 31st against the run isn’t going to cut it. The Chargers have two defensive studs on the outside, but need help on the inside.

Corey Liuget had one of his better seasons as of late, but is not worth the large cap hit. Darius Philon is improving and deserves more playing time, but may not be ready for a full-time gig just yet.

The Chargers don’t necessarily need another linebacker if they have a healthy Denzel Perryman, who makes a world of difference to the team when on the field.

Scenario 2: Draft a linebacker

The Options:

  1. Tremaine Edmunds, Virginia Tech
  2. Rashaan Evans, Alabama

As it currently stands, there is no way without trading up that the Chargers land Georgia’s Roquan Smith. I don’t think he makes it past the Dolphins at 11.

Current Starters on roster:

  • Denzel Perryman, 24 years old, $1.048 million base salary, $1.519 million cap hit, PFF Grade: 63.8
  • Jatavis Brown, 23 years old, $630,00 base salary, $676,096 cap hit, PFF Grade: 70.8
  • Korey Toomer, 29 years old, unrestricted free agent, PFF Grade: 80.3
  • Hayes Pullard, 25 years old, $705,000 base salary and cap hit, PFF Grade: 37.2

The case for drafting a linebacker:

Perryman is the key in all of this. On one hand, he makes incredibly athletic plays at or behind the line of scrimmage, something no other linebacker on the roster regularly can do. Unfortunately, Perryman seems to be injury prone, unable to commit to a full season due to various injuries.

Gus Bradley needs another “Bobby Wagner” kind of guy on this defense, especially if he intends to stop the run.

Here’s a current Bolt Beat favorite, Tremaine Edmunds:

https://twitter.com/BlakeHHarris/status/940368111517106176

More from Bolt Beat

The guy can tackle, and that’s already an improvement over most any player on the defense.

So, I’ll ask one more time:

Would you rather the Chargers draft a defensive tackle or linebacker with their first-round pick?

Both would be fantastic and obvious options. I don’t think Tom Telesco surprises us with a “Mike Williams pick” this year, as it’s so glaringly evident the run defense needs to be fixed first and foremost.

Comment below and let me know! More topics to come throughout the offseason. Go Bolts.

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