The Los Angeles Chargers need to add talent along the offensive line. Is Washington OT Kaleb McGary worth a first-round look?
The Los Angeles Chargers should be looking to take an offensive lineman at some point in the 2019 NFL Draft, but may opt to wait on their guy and select a free safety, interior defensive lineman, or corner in the first round. There are solid second round options available, and one of them is former two-time first-team All-Pac-12 Washington Husky Kaleb McGary, a player they have already met with privately.
Biggest Game: 9 Washington vs 6 Ohio State, 2019
At 6’7″, 317 pounds, McGary presents an obstacle to bull rushers. You’re not going to win often running straight into him, as he presents a good anchor to go along with his size. I don’t recall a play against Ohio State where he was beaten inside.
Against Ohio State, Washington utilized the screen game at least half a dozen times, and one could regularly see McGary moving and blocking in front of the running back. He excels in the run game and is a surprisingly good mover in space.
— Daniel Jeremiah (@MoveTheSticks) February 13, 2019
There’s a bit of a nasty to his game, something any coach loves to find in offensive lineman. He’s a finisher, and loves to punish defenders when given the opportunity. He’s plug-and-play as a run blocker and would do wonders for Melvin Gordon, Austin Ekeler, and Justin Jackson.
Unfortunately for McGary, there appears to be a relatively simple way to beat him: speed on the outside. Against a variety of rushers from Ohio State, No. 58 may have been beaten for a quarterback pressure on almost half of rushes that came from outside speed. Philip Rivers will do a great job of masking this deficiency, releasing the ball quickly and stepping up and away from outside pressure. But the Chargers will need to find themselves a good right guard (Forrest Lamp, finally?) to give him that pocket to step up in. McGary at right tackle could fix the problem shown below, but there’s still a problem with the guard spot.
The Patriots got good pressure up the middle here on a stunt between their two best interior rushers. Butler was the penetrator, while Flowers looped around. Chargers lost Butler as he was passed off.
(Hightower also overpowers RT Sam Tevi, making it a party in the backfield.) pic.twitter.com/cLVtbAcpcF
— Phil Perry (@PhilAPerry) January 14, 2019
Speaking of guard, there is also the possibility that his limitations against speed push him inside. He’s a good run blocker with some finisher mentality, so it’s worth a look. The Chargers currently have a weird line of two Pro-Bowl players who stick to their position, Dan Feeney, and a bevy of other players who can play multiple positions but haven’t found success at one spot. Would the Chargers be willing to consider another two-way guy, if they see him as a tackle and/or guard?
Draft Projection: Second Round
I’m not buying that McGary is a first-round selection, especially when there are enough offensive line prospects ahead of him to push him into the second round. If the Chargers are looking to take him, they might run into the same problem they will likely face with Tytus Howard in the third round: he makes it into that round, but is taken in the first half of the round and never gets near the Chargers. I’m not sure McGary makes it to their second selection, but if he does, he’d be a great add at that spot.