LA Chargers News

Bolt Beat Monday Mailbag: Finding a complimentary RB for the Chargers

SAN DIEGO, CA - NOVEMBER 24: Rashaad Penny
SAN DIEGO, CA - NOVEMBER 24: Rashaad Penny
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Happy Monday, Bolt Beat readers! Welcome to the Bolt Beat Mailbag!

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A few mock drafts have projected the Chargers to draft Derwin James with the 17th pick overall. However, how does the signing of Jaylen Watkins affect the Chargers? Does this push the possibility of drafting a safety to Day 2 or 3? Also, how will he be used by the Chargers and where does he fall in the depth chart? – Caleb

If the Jaylen Watkins signing pushes the need for a safety back a few rounds, then he is projected by Tom Telesco to have a way bigger role than any of us expected. That being said, I don’t think there’s a chance his acquisition affects the draft at all. You could argue that Tre Boston’s signing last year (also a cheap one-year deal) eliminated the need for a true free safety in the draft, but here we are again with a hole at the position one season later.

If Boston doesn’t re-sign with the team, the Chargers will once again be playing with a temporary starter at safety with Watkins, unless they have plans for another player on the roster (more on that later). If the Chargers were looking to draft a safety in the first round, that’s where they will take one. If they were looking to do it on Day 3, that’s when they will. But I can basically guarantee you two things:

  1. If no starting-caliber safety is signed in free agency, Telesco will take one in one of the first three rounds (unless a ridiculously obvious prospect falls to that pick and he takes BPA, i.e. Tremaine Edmunds/Kolton Miller/Malik Jefferson). I firmly believe this is the year he pulls the trigger on an early-round safety.
  2. Jaylen Watkins will not be the starting free safety at the beginning of the season

Regarding his usage, I imagine it will be something similar to what he did in Philadelphia. I’d try to get him on special teams, but not expect much from him on defense.

I have a theory, though, that he’s going to be used in Rayshawn Jenkins’ role last season, so that the 4th-round pick from 2017 can take a step forward and find more time on defense. If nothing gets done in free agency or the draft to address the safety spot, Gus Bradley must have the idea to expand Jenkins’ playing time. Watkins can take his special teams snaps.

Minkah Fitzpatrick would be a very good pick. But do you think he will be there at 17? – Pistolsel

There’s a chance he makes it, as there’s a draft slide every year for some players. That would mean 16 picks before us have to be anything BUT Fitzpatrick. As of right now, I could realistically see:

-Four QB’s (Darnold, Rosen, Allen, Mayfield) -Two LB’s (Smith and Edmunds) -One DT (Vea) -One OT (McGlinchey or Williams) -One IOL (Nelson) -One WR (Ridley) -One RB (Barkley) -One other S (James) -Two EDGE (Chubb and Davenport) -One CB (Ward or Jackson)

That’s at least 15 players that should be selected before the Bolts, which leaves possibly one open slot. Here’s the problem: Depending on how you see it, while there technically ARE 15-20 players that could go before him, Fitzpatrick is regularly regarded as one of the top eight prospects of that group. Can he fall to us? Numerically it could work out. Realistically, not much of a chance.

Gut feeling is…is Tre Boston gone for good or do we get him back on a team-friendly deal? Or is Jaylen Watkins his replacement? -J erry

As of right now, I would be incredibly shocked if Watkins was slated to be his replacement. I’m not opposed to him coming in and outright winning the job, as that would be great; but I see him being beaten out by competition from a draft pick or free-agent signing further down the line. If Boston comes back, it’s on a team-friendly deal. For two reasons:

  1. Boston hasn’t found work yet and clearly won’t get the money he wants
  2. Tom Telesco generally makes team-friendly deals (Casey Hayward was signed for three years and $36 million, for example)

Watkins isn’t going to be his replacement, barring one heck of a training camp performance. I see him along the lines of a Dexter McCoil type of role (well, when he was on the team) where he’s fine depth and can work in on special teams.

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