Los Angeles Chargers first-round draft options

The 2019 NFL Draft will get underway in just over 70 days.

The Arizona Cardinals are expected to draft Nick Bosa (DE, Ohio State) with the first overall pick. Let’s have a look at the Los Angles Chargers first-round draft options. The Bolts will be on the clock with the 28th overall pick.

Tom Telesco will need to draft Philip Rivers‘ successor soon. The defense may well be the order of the day for the Chargers in the first round of 2019, it’s a draft favoring several high-caliber defensive players.

It’s likely that the Chargers will look to draft an offensive tackle in round two. Jonah Williams, Jawaan Taylor or Cody Ford would be a good fit for the Bolts’ offensive line, however, the trio is likely to be off the board by the time the Chargers are on the clock.

Potential draft picks

Dexter LawrenceDT, Clemson, Height: 6’4 Weight: 340 pounds- Lawrence is regarded as a true nose tackle, he was named as the 2016 ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year. Lawrence’s 5-star recruitment indicates that he has the potential to become an NFL starter. Joe Marino, writing for thedraftnetwork.com suggests that Lawrence’s best trait is run defense.

“Has considerable upside as a run defender and clearly understands his role. Does well to anchor and occupy blocks to keep the second level clean. Not a dynamic gap penetrator but is difficult to move and has the ability to re-set the line of scrimmage. Is a load to move. Holds up fairly well against double teams. Squeezes run lanes, has a good feel for play design and finds the ball.”

Kyle Crabbs believes that Lawrence is more adapted to a 3-4 defense, meaning he can play two-gap. Gus Bradley converted the Chargers from a 3-4 to a 4-3 defense in 2017.

Lawrence’s incredible strength and versatility might just be the ticket for the Bolts. The three-time All-ACC player is likely to be drafted in round one, he has a prospect grade of 6.17.

Highlights

Dre’Mont Jones – DT Ohio State, Height: 6’3 Weight: 295 pounds- Jones’ weight is on the crossroads of needing to add weight to play on the interior or strip weight to play as an edge rusher.

The Chargers need mass in the trenches. Whoever drafts Jones will have to figure out what is best for the player and the franchise. Jon Ledyard, writing for thedraftnetwork.com, has concerns over Jones’ ability to stop the run.

“The dichotomy of Jones’ skill set should make him one of the more polarizing evaluations in the 2019 NFL Draft class. On one hand he’s a special athlete with rare movement skills and a quickly-developing repertoire of rush moves, but on the other hand he struggles mightily as a run defender, from recognizing blocks to getting off of them to holding the point of attack.”

Jones posted 8.5 sacks in his junior year and finished with over 40 tackles on the season. He also made the AP All-Big Ten team for consecutive seasons. He can become a blue-chip defensive tackle. The former Buckeye has a prospect grade of 6.01.

Highlights:

Yodny CajusteOT, West Virginia, Height: 6’5 Weight: 315 pounds- Cajuste favors left tackle. There is an additional risk associated with his acquisition, he tore his ACL in 2016.

Cajuste did recover to play through 2017 and 2018, a season in which he was named Big 12 Conference Co-Offensive Lineman of the Year. West Virginia’s offense averaged 512.3 yards per game, the eighth highest in college football.

Cajuste must adjust quickly to the speed of the NFL. If selected by the Chargers, Cajuste would be under immediate pressure to improve the offensive line, a unit that gave up 32 sacks in 2018.

It’s an important factor, especially as the Chargers must get their season off to a positive start. Several mock drafts suggest the Cardinals will take Cajuste on day two, therefore,  a realistic option for the latter stages of the first round. Cajuste has a prospect grade of 5.68

Highlights:

Mack WilsonLinebacker, Alabama, Height: 6’0 Weight: 231 pounds- The Chargers have an opportunity to draft a linebacker coached at Alabama. Wilson posted 114 tackles in 35 games for the Crimson Tide. 2018 was fruitful for No.30, contributions included 65 tackles, a sack and two interceptions. Crabbs gives a good account of Wilson’s tackling abilities.

“Booming pads when he’s in a phone booth, his coil and finishing skills are terrific. Has eaten RBs at full speed on the second level and anchored/drove the legs to avoid slipping off of giving up ground. Tackle balance on lateral scrapes needs some minor tweaking.”

Several scouts have concerns over Wilson’s consistency, practice and a positive mental approach can improve that trait. Wilson shows good anticipation, as highlighted with his pick-six against Clemson. Wilson has a prospect grade of 5.90.

Highlights:

Outside Shot

You never know in football, trading up could allow Telesco to draft a real stalwart from Alabama.

Quinnen Williams – DL, Alabama, Height: 6’4 Weight: 289 pounds: Nick Saban was blessed with a talented football player on the Crimson Tide roster. Williams totaled over 90 tackles and 10 sacks across two seasons.

The one-time All American was voted in eighth place, and the only defensive player in the 2018 Heisman Trophy vote. Williams can play at any position along the line of scrimmage. His speed and agility make him a sought after defensive lineman. Williams receives a fine appraisal from Crabbs.

“Quinnen Williams is an easy projection to a 3T role in the NFL. Williams has superb quickness, extension skills, pass rush counters and football intelligence. There’s little in the way of limitations for Williams between the sidelines. Williams has All-Pro potential and can be a perennial Pro Bowler if he plays to his potential. Williams should start immediately in the NFL and be the face of a young team’s defensive unit for years to come.”

The Oakland Raiders are projected to draft Williams with the fourth overall pick. It’s difficult to see the 2018 Outland Trophy winner falling below the sixth overall pick. Williams has a prospect grade of 6.70 (Pro-Bowl caliber player).

The Chargers would need to work their magic to secure Williams’ services.

The 2019 draft is loaded with defensive talent. The question is, who will wear the Bolt after round one and does he have the potential to make an impact in 2019? At this early stage, all roads point toward Lawrence.

*Data sourced from www.sports-reference.com/cfb and nfl.com