The Los Angeles Chargers run defense in 2017 was horrible. It was better when Denzel Perryman was in the lineup, but still very bad. Is that an overstatement? I mean how can a team who just barely missed the playoffs be so bad against the run?
You cannot ignore these stats.131.1 yards per game – 31st in the league4.9 yards per carry – 32nd in the league
Those are bad numbers and that 4.9 per carry is an ugly number indeed. But who really is to blame? Lineman? Linebackers? Safeties?
Last year I found a new appreciation for the ability to quickly diagnose a play. Watch Perryman play football. That guy’s first step is true and quick. He finds a hole and disrupts. When you watch the Chargers other linebackers play there is a lot of lateral movement as they wait and try to diagnose. There is no doubt the Chargers need an upgrade for the linebackers playing beside Perryman.
As for the nose tackle position, Brandon Mebane is not getting any younger. Some will argue that he has moved from a disrupter to a hole filler as he has aged and lost a step or two. Perhaps an upgrade in the middle is what needs to happen. The Chargers need someone who is going to explode off the line and push the center back off his spot.
And then there is our strong safety. I have never been a fan of Jahleel Addae. I think he plays out of control and has poor tackling skills. But Chargers’ management loves the guy, so this argument is dead.
When the first-round pick rolls around who will be on the board and which way will the Chargers go? In this draft I see three day 1 starters at nose tackle who fit well with the Chargers scheme. Vita Vea, Da’Ron Payne and Taven Bryan.
It is hard to guess where those guys will go in the draft. Before the combine a lot of people had Vea mocked to the Chargers, but he had a good combine and people have moved him up. I am not sure if it will really play out at the draft that way, but I hope Vea will still be there at 17.
With the 17th pick of the 2018 NFL draft the Los Angeles Chargers select.. Vita Vea.
I think this is where the Chargers go with there first pick. If not Vea than Payne. The Chargers need help against the run and finding a disruptive force in the middle would be a great piece for this defense that is on its way to becoming elite. Both of these guys are projected not only as day one starters but also as possible future Pro-Bowlers.
Vea has impressive size at 6’4″ and 347 pounds. He also put up 41 reps on the bench press at the combine. Payne is a bit smaller at 6’2″ and 311, but a tad quicker. I don’t think you can go wrong with either guy at this spot.
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(Version A) With the 48th pick of the 2018 NFL draft the Los Angeles Chargers select… Leighton Vander Esch
This would be a great pickup for the Chargers. The real question is will he be there at 48. If he is, the Chargers should scoop him up. This will go a long ways to helping the Chargers solve their lack of depth at linebacker.
(Version B) With the 48th pick of the 2018 NFL draft the Los Angeles Chargers select… Ronnie Harrison.
If the Chargers select this guy I think he would become the most talented safety on the roster. That says a lot about the depth of players the Chargers have at safety or at possible safety. I say possible safety because I think the Chargers are looking at guys on the roster who might slide into that position. With this pick the Chargers don’t have to worry about sliding someone in but instead can have some consistency at the position, which we have not seen since the beard has been here.