Heading into the 2019 offseason, one of the needs the Los Angeles Charges must address is the linebacker position.
In 2018, fans saw how decimated the Chargers’ linebacker depth was with injuries to linebackers Jatavis Brown, Denzel Perryman and Kyzier White. Looking ahead to 2019, White and Brown are the only notable linebackers to be returning next year with Perryman, Hayes Pullard and Kyle Emanuel expected to leave for free agency.
I do expect the Chargers to bring back hybrid linebacker/safety Adrian Phillips, but that should not stop the team from continuing to add depth to the linebacker position. With that said, there are three linebacker prospects in this year’s draft that have the ability to have an instant impact in 2019.
While scouts may deem linebacker Devin Bush as undersized, at 5-foot-11 and 233 pounds, he displays ideal traits that translate to the NFL.
During his time at Michigan, defensive coordinator Don Brown used Bush in a variety of ways. This includes having Bush dropping back into coverage in a zone defense, lining up in the slot to cover receivers and tight ends, as a designated blitzer, and just letting him use his natural instincts to diagnose and defend the run.
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Linebacker Germain Pratt is my personal favorite linebacker in this year’s class. The North Carolina State product showed a phenomenal ability to defend the pass while showing the capabilities to defend the run in key situations. At 6-foot-2, Pratt displays ideal size, speed, and effort that make him an ideal fit for the Chargers.
A lot of people are comparing Sione Takitaki to his former teammate and current San Francisco 49ers linebacker Fred Warner.
This comparison is warranted however due to Sione’s phenomenal versatility and natural instincts as a linebacker. At 6-feet-2 and weighing at 230 pounds, Takitaki has the capabilities as a pass rusher, can drop back into coverage and make tackles in space.