Los Angeles area draft prospects for the Los Angeles Chargers

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 08: Uchenna Nwosu #42 of the USC Trojans celebrates his blocked pass during the first quarter against the Colorado Buffaloes at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on October 8, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 08: Uchenna Nwosu #42 of the USC Trojans celebrates his blocked pass during the first quarter against the Colorado Buffaloes at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on October 8, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

Last year, the Los Angeles Chargers picked two draft prospects from the Los Angeles area in Uchenna Nwosu and Scott Quessenberry. Who are the local prospects that the Chargers could target this year?

With two (usually) powerful college teams in the L.A. area, the Chargers have plenty of local talent to sift through. Whether it was intentional or not (an interesting question considering the recent move and desire for LA-based fans), two of the Chargers seven selections last year were from USC or UCLA.

Should the Chargers decide to go with local talent again, these are the prospects that they could be looking at.

USC ILB – Cameron Smith (Rounds 2-5)

Cameron Smith was a fan favorite four-year starter at USC, and he has the chance to be an impactful player at the next level. Plus, he may be available in the mid-round range.

The main reason that Smith could fall this far is a lack of flashy measurables. His burst is not incredible, his play strength and ability to shed blockers are lacking, and his 40 time was less than impressive at 4.69 seconds.

Despite all of this, if you have watched his game tape at USC, you saw a consistent, reliable linebacker.

Smith does not take plays off. He does not miss tackles. He does not let his team down.

While this will be harder at the next level without the measurables referenced above, Smith could be an excellent pick for the Chargers.

USC OT – Chuma Edoga (Rounds 3-5)

Again a player at a position of need from Los Angeles is available for the Chargers.

At USC, Chuma Edoga proved to be a nimble, yet powerful run blocker. His ability to get to the second level could help propel the Chargers’ run game even further than last year, taking pressure off of Philip Rivers as he ages.

Unfortunately, he requires significant improvement as a pass blocker. He may not be the best fit due to the fact that the team should be building to protect Rivers in his later years.

Still, how much worse could he be than Sam Tevi’s league-worst pass blocking pressure rate, according to PFF?

If nothing else, he could be competition for Tevi if the Chargers really are content at the tackle position and do not take one early.

Chargers HC Anthony Lynn reiterated that Forrest Lamp will get a chance to compete for a starting job at guard, but he wants to develop his versatility as a tackle so he can be active on game days. Lynn said Bolts are good at tackle with Russell Okung and Sam Tevi.

— Eric Williams (@eric_d_williams) March 26, 2019

UCLA TE – Caleb Wilson (Rounds 3-5)

UCLA’s top NFL prospect this year is tight end Caleb Wilson. The Chargers have a wealth of players at this position (especially if they bring back Antonio Gates), so drafting him is unlikely.

While Wilson has potential, with a productive junior year as a receiver, his abilities are generally limited to his receiving ability until he builds up more functional (lower body) strength.

As a player that needs development at a position for which the Chargers already possess the future, he appears to be an unlikely draftee of the Chargers.

USC OLB – Porter Gustin (Rounds 4-6)

Coming into his senior year, Porter Gustin was hoping to get back to his talented pass-rushing self after a year lost to injuries. While he started the year hot, most of his season was lost again due to a broken ankle.

His history may force teams to label him as an injury prone player, and that will drop his draft stock. However, the NFL’s consistent need for pass rushers and edge-setters will almost certainly get him drafted.

His style of pass rushing (bully the blocker until he arrives at the quarterback) may not hold up at the next level, but his high motor could make him a solid backup at the next level.

His strength and tenacity could make him worth scouting as a backup edge player for the Chargers.

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USC safety – Marvell Tell III (Rounds 4-7)

Marvell Tell III, a team captain in his time at USC, could be a late-round fit next to Derwin James at safety for the Chargers.

Tell’s main talents are his speed, athleticism, and coverage ability in general. This is exactly the opposite of last year’s starter at the position, Jahleel Addae, and is a much better fit for the team.

However, Tell is likely to go this late in the draft due to his small frame and lack of tackling ability. A player on the back end of an NFL defense needs to be able to act as a safety valve, limiting a run or medium pass to a 15-yard gain rather than a 50-yard touchdown.

Tell’s ability to do that is in question.

He is worth a look as the Chargers next safety, but he would just be competition for Rayshawn Jenkins and Jalen Watkins.

Very late-round or undrafted options

  • USC CB Iman Marshall
  • USC EDGE Christian Rector
  • UCLA EDGE Chigozie Nnoruka
  • UCLA OT Andre James
  • UCLA S Adarius Pickett
  • USC C/G Toa Lobendahn
  • UCLA RB Joshua Kelley

Are you excited about any of these prospects or want to read a more extensive article on one of these players? Do the Chargers target players who played college ball in L.A.? Let us know your opinions in the comments below.