Predicting the Chargers’ rookies post-draft
By Sebastian Orellana
The long-awaited draft is finally over, and now we can move on to the next chapter of the NFL. We look at every team and as fans we either rejoice at our teams newest additions or we question and express our frustration on social media. The question of which team made the right moves and increased their chances of winning is answered as we move into the 2018-19 season.
As we look at the Chargers, no player really made more of a splash on excitement than Derwin James falling to 17 in the first round. Are they now stronger candidates to win the AFC West? Let’s find out and rank the players after the draft.
Overview: In my last piece, I mentioned the Chargers going 12-4 if they made all the right moves in the draft and strengthened their roster. They did just that by taking care of their defense in the first two days in the draft. They stole a gem in James and took hard-hitting, sure tacklers in Kyzir White and Uchenna Nwosu to help fix their missed tackling problem. On offense, they bulked up their line with Scott Quessenberry and got offensive playmakers in receiver Dylan Cantrell and running back Justin Jackson.
Team’s Offensive Rookie of the Year: I believe Justin Jackson will make a great complement to Melvin Gordon and a weapon for Philip Rivers in the passing game. Although he has a small frame, he can make people miss and is very versatile, racking up over 5,400 rushing yards and scoring 41 times in his four-year career at Northwestern. Although he most likely will not be a starter, you can believe he will have a big impact on offense the same way Austin Ekeler did. Expect Jackson to rack up at least 500 total yards (300 Rushing, 200 Receiving) and three or four total touchdowns.
Team’s Defensive Rookie of the Year: This is an obvious one: Derwin James will most likely get the start at safety Day 1. He will work as a box safety, almost like another linebacker to help stuff the run. In pass coverage, he will work as a center fielder, ready to lay the lumber on anyone who crosses his zone. In his rookie year, I believe he can compete for the NFL’s Rookie of the Year award, but he will definitely stand out as a Chargers’ rookie, getting at least 65 tackles as well as three interceptions.
Rookie Steal: Signed as a free agent, OL Zack Golditch has a great story of perseverance and hard work. Not only can these attributes translate well at the next level, but they can a change a locker room presence and strengthen the offensive line as a whole. Golditch was a combo guard/tackle and at 6-foot-5 and 300 pounds, he can beef up the offensive line and maybe earn a starting spot sometime in the year.
Overall, the team received a decent grade in total draft day picks and have added to an already talented roster that can take them to the playoffs and hopefully further.