Chargers Draft

NFL scouting combine: Chargers fans should tune in on Sunday

GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 30: Defensive lineman Vita Vea #50 of the Washington Huskies reacts on the bench during the second half of the Playstation Fiesta Bowl against the Penn State Nittany Lions at University of Phoenix Stadium on December 30, 2017 in Glendale, Arizona. The Nittany Lions defeated the Huskies 35-28. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 30: Defensive lineman Vita Vea #50 of the Washington Huskies reacts on the bench during the second half of the Playstation Fiesta Bowl against the Penn State Nittany Lions at University of Phoenix Stadium on December 30, 2017 in Glendale, Arizona. The Nittany Lions defeated the Huskies 35-28. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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The time has arrived for the annual scouting combine. College prospects from all over the country will invade Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis to show that they’re not only ready to compete at the next level, but that they’re better than everyone else in their draft class.

If you’re like me and you love football, the combine doesn’t just consist of players running around in gym shorts. Instead, it’s a great round of evaluations which adds insight to the upcoming NFL draft.

Fans of the Los Angeles Chargers should tune in this Sunday, if nothing else, as that is the day the defensive tackles and linebackers who have been invited to the combine will engage in on-field workouts.

There is a good chance the Chargers could be looking to add a player to bolster the interior of the defense in the first round with the No. 17 overall pick.

Here is a list of the defensive tackles who have been invited to partake in the events of the combine, in alphabetical order:

John Atkins, Georgia

Taven Bryan, Florida

Foley Fatukasi, Connecticut

Joshua Frazier, Alabama

Zaycoven Henderson, Texas A&M

B.J. Hill, North Carolina State

Maurice Hurst, Michigan

Justin Jones, North Carolina State

Lowell Lotulelei, Utahj

R.J. McIntosh, Miami

Kahlil McKenzie, Tennessee

Bilal Nichols, Tennessee

Derrick Nnadi, Florida State

Kendrick Norton, Miami

Da’Ron Payne, Alabama

Harrison Phillips, Stanford

Deadrin Senat, South Florida

Tim Settle, Virginia Tech

Nathan Shepherd, Fort Hays State

Breeland Speaks, Mississsippi

Taylor Stallworth, South Carolina

Trenton Thompson, Georgia

Vita Vea, Washington

Eddy Wilson, Purdue

The names in bold are players Chargers fans should pay extra attention to. Da’ Ron Payne and Vita Vea are each worthy of the No. 17 overall pick and each would be a solid addition to a team with aspirations of improving its run defense.

Taven Bryan out of Florida and Maurice Hurst are players that could throw their names into consideration for that first-round pick of the Chargers with a good showing at the combine.

Derrick Nnadi and Harrison Phillips are likely second-round picks, but if the Chargers don’t go defensive tackle in round one, each guy would make sense in the second round. Phillips is an interesting player who the team must get a good look at for one reason — he had 98 tackles as an interior defensive lineman last season!

Yes, you read that right. How does that happen? It’s not like he was playing against weak competition in the Pac-12 Conference.

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Inside linebacker is another position the Chargers will be looking to bolster. Take a look at the list of inside linebackers who will be participating in the combine:

Genard Avery, Memphis

Keishawn Bierria, Washington

Jason Cabinda, Penn State

Jack Cichy, Wisconsin

Tremaine Edmunds, Virginia Tech

Rashaan Evans, Alabama

Shaun Dion Hamilton, Alabama

Josey Jewell, Iowa

Micah Kiser, Virginia

Mike McCray, Michigan

Christian Sam, Arizona State

Tegray Scales, Indiana

Andre Smith, North Carolina

Roquan Smith, Georgia

Leighton Vander Esch, Boise State

Azeem Victor, Washington

Chris Worley, Ohio State

Kenny Young, UCLA

There aren’t as many options at the inside linebacker position in this class, at least as far as first-round picks are concerned, but the ones that are there are good ones.

Tremaine Edmunds is a player you’ll likely see tied to the Chargers in mock drafts next month and Rashaan Evans is a guy who has already been mocked to the team as a first-round pick.

Roquan Smith will almost certainly be off the board by the time the Chargers go on the clock. Leighton Vander Esch is an every-down linebacker who I love. If the Chargers could get him in the second or possibly even the third round, it would be an excellent choice for the team.

Coverage of the combine on Sunday will start at 8:00 a.m. PT.

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