Round 2 (48th overall): Jessie Bates, FS, Wake Forest
If fellow classmate Justin Reid fell, I’d go with him. However, Jessie Bates is right up there with the best safeties in this class. And with Tre Boston no longer on the team, the Chargers need to find a true free safety.
Bates comes with two years of excellent production. In 2016, he tied for the most solo tackles in the ACC with 70 (100 total) and finished second in the nation with five interceptions. In 2017, he finished with 79 total tackles, including six for loss, five pass deflections and one forced fumble. However, his interception total went down, as he only picked off one pass. He also made an impact on special teams, returning eight punts for 161 yards (an average of 20.1 yards per return) and a touchdown.
Overall, Bates is a playmaker who has great instincts, range and speed to fill that role. He has to work on his tackling technique, but his pros far outweigh that con. He can also be used in the return game, another area the team could use help in.