Free agency, or least the big announcement portion of it, is mostly behind us and suddenly, the NFL draft is just over one month away.
The Chargers added a skilled veteran at linebacker in Thomas Davis while also providing a better arm behind Philip Rivers by signing Tyrod Taylor. Tom Telesco passed on going after a “big fish” such as Earl Thomas or C.J. Mosley, believing money would be better spent elsewhere.
If you were to create a list of the team’s biggest needs, there’s a good chance that offensive tackle and defensive tackle would top the list.
In his latest mock draft, Ryan Wilson of CBS Sports has the Chargers covered. He has them filling both of those slots in the first two rounds of April’s draft. Here are the picks.
First round, No. 28 overall: Andre Dillard, OT, Washington State
Dalton Risner of Kansas State is a player I like at this spot too, mainly because Dillard may not drop this far, but if he does, he would be an outstanding pick.
Dillard is quite possibly the best pass-blocking offensive lineman in the entire draft and that alone makes him a big upgrade over Sam Tevi, who should be a backup.
The pressure that Rivers faced against the New England Patriots in the playoffs was one of the major reasons why the Chargers season ended that day. Rivers is not a mobile quarterback and is never going to be a guy that continuously makes plays outside the pocket. Protecting him will be of the utmost importance so if a guy like Dillard is on the board at No. 28, it would be a slam dunk of a pick.
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Second round, No. 60 overall: Dre’Mont Jones, DT, Ohio State
For whatever reason, the team has yet to re-sign either Darius Philon or Damion Square. Instead, Brandon Mebane was brought back on a two-year deal. However, Justin Jones and T.Y. McGill are the only other defensive tackles on the roster.
Dre’Mont Jones was considered a first-round pick by many analysts at one time so getting him at the bottom of the second round could provide huge value.
He might be one of the few defensive tackles in this draft that seems to be a better pass rusher than a run defender. He is coming off a junior season in which he had 8.5 sacks, but he isn’t stout against the run by any means.
Still, if the team feels that Mebane and Justin Jones can hold their own as the starters on the interior portion of the defensive line, Dre’Mont Jones could be a great rotational player in the early part of his career.