Now that it’s April (draft month!), there are mock drafts all over the place, and prospect evaluations from pros and novices alike. Which prospects have a chance of falling to the Bolts at the 28th pick, and what would the worst-case scenario look like?
With four Pro-Bowl players drafted in the first round over the last five years, the Chargers have been both lucky and good in the draft, especially last year when they were gift-wrapped versatile safety Derwin James.
This year, it may be time for the Chargers to take a more aggressive approachand trade up for a star at a position of need. However, recent draft history has shown that Tom Telesco may be rather hesitant to trade up.
That leaves us as fans to consider what may be available at pick 28.
While we almost certainly shouldn’t expect to get another steal like James again, one can dream. Here are the best and worst case scenarios for players available at pick 28.
Best Players of Interest Available
- OT Dalton Risner
- DT Dexter Lawrence
- DT Christian Wilkins
- OT Andre Dillard
Do you think a draft where all of these big men are available is too good to be true? It probably is, but stranger things have happened.
At the offensive tackle position, many of the teams ahead of the Chargers with major tackle needs had those needs filled in free agency. Within the division, both the Oakland Raiders and Denver Broncos made high-priced investments at the position.
Still, many mock drafts have up to four offensive tackles going before the Chargers. But, if that number goes down to three, and one team falls in love with what appears to be an inferior prospect (see: Oakland Raiders in 2018), the Chargers could be in luck.
While it may be more difficult to have both Lawrence and Wilkins fall to the Chargers, this draft is as good as any for good defensive tackles to fall.
It would be possible for four higher rated defensive tackles to go off the board and still have both Lawrence and Wilkins available. These four would be Quinnen Williams, Ed Oliver, Rashan Gary, and Jeffrey Simmons (yes, I know he tore his ACL and has misconduct issues, but his talent puts him in the top three rated players in the draft by NFL.com).
With four great big men options available, even the Chargers, a team recently allergic to linemen, could not mess up this draft scenario.
Players of Interest Drafted
- LB Devin Bush
- OT Jawaan Taylor
- DL Ed Oliver
Sorry everyone; even dreams need to be realistic.
None of these men are falling to the Chargers at 28, even in a best-case scenario; it would take a major injury or misconduct issue (think Laremy Tunsil’s gas mask incident-level) for them to drop to the Bolts.
Devin Bush pushed his draft stock too high with his combine performance; Jawaan Taylor appears to be the top tackle in the draft, and Ed Oliver never really had a chance to make it to 28 despite fans’ excitement from his official visit with the Chargers.
These are some of the players that could be worth a trade up in the draft.
Best Players of Interest Available
- OT Kaleb McGary
- OT Greg Little
- LB Mack Wilson
- S Chauncey Gardner-Robinson
Fortunately, in the NFL (unlike the AAF, may it rest in peace), talent grows on trees, and several of the worst-case scenarios could upgrade some of the Chargers’ current starting positions.
While Little and McGary each have their limitations at this point in their careers, both could represent an upgrade at tackle. The same can likely be said for Gardner-Robinson at the safety position.
However, in this situation, the first-round caliber players at positions of interest are all gone.
For this to occur, the top four tackles, six defensive tackles, two linebackers, and the top one to two safeties would have to be taken. While that is a lot to happen (especially six players at the DT position), it is certainly possible.
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There are approximately 14 teams with a need at offensive tackle, nine at defensive tackle, 10 at linebacker, and eight at safety. If you want to see where these numbers came from, follow this link.
Obviously, these teams have other needs, will try to follow their draft boards, and several of these teams are counted more than once due to there being more than one need. However, it is clear that this worst-case scenario is possible.
No matter the situation, the Chargers will be getting a good football player with the 28th pick in the draft. However, the possibility of this situation may necessitate a move up the draft.
With these scenarios in mind, do you think a good player at a position of need will be available for the Chargers at 28, or do they need to move up to win this draft?