Round 4 (119th overall): Armani Watts, FS, Texas A&M
OoOo I really, really wanted to go with UCF linebacker Shaquem Griffin, especially because he’s the type of productive, high-effort prospect Telesco falls for; I’m high on Griffin, but I think he’s going in the third round. However, the Chargers get one of my favorite safety prospects in Armani Watts, who takes over for the departing Tre Boston at free safety.
After missing some games in 2016 due to a leg injury, Watts came back strong in 2017 and finished his senior year with 87 total tackles, including 10 for loss, five pass deflections, four interceptions, two forced fumbles and two blocked kicks. He earned first-team All-SEC honors.
Bradley is need of a guy like this. He’s a dangerous ball hawk who is also good against the run. He didn’t have a standout combine performance, but his tape shows what the athletic defender is capable of. However, aside from injury concerns, scouts say he’s a gambler and that his tackling ability is inconsistent at best.
Watts would be a steal in the fourth round, just like how I said current Bears FS Eddie Jackson would be a steal in the fourth last year (Spoiler: He was). The uber-athletic Tarvarius Moore could also be the pick here. Terrell Edmunds, Tremaine’s brother, comes to mind, too.
Round 5 (155th overall): Bilal Nichols, DT, Delaware
Telesco has been going with the “take two of the same” approach as of late. Last year, he took two offensive guards in Forrest Lamp (Round 2) and Dan Feeney (Round 3) and two defensive backs (both listed as safeties at the time) in Rayshawn Jenkins (Round 4) and Desmond King (Round 5). The year prior, he took two linebackers in Joshua Perry (Round 4) and Jatavis Brown (Round 5). You could even say the same for Denzel Perryman (Round 2) and Kyle Emanuel (Round 5) the year before that. In his first two seasons as GM (2013-14), he went in a different direction with every pick.
Sam Houston State’s P.J. Hall would be the pick if he fell, but he’s more than likely going in the fourth round after that insane pro day. Still, Bilal Nichols is no slouch.
Telesco is good at finding late-round gems, especially in the fifth round (Desmond King, Jatavis Brown and even Emanuel). Nichols could be this year’s Brown, a fast and athletic small-school prospect who has the potential to make an impact right away. The 6-foot-4, 306-pound defensive tackle ran a 4.95 40-yard dash and bench pressed 29 reps at the combine. He has great measurements and comes with solid production. In 2017, Nichols finished with 56 total tackles, including 6.5 for loss, 5.5 sacks, four pass deflections, one interception and one blocked kick while earning first-team All-CAA honors.
Nichols has the traits to become a disruptive one-gap defensive tackle in Bradley’s scheme. I’d also like to point out that If the Chargers went with a penetrating 3-tech DT like Florida’s Taven Bryan (who was my unpredictable first-round choice but is starting to grow on me) at 17 instead of Payne, then this selection could be a run-stuffing nose tackle like Miami’s Kendrick Norton, who would be a great pick in the fifth round as well.