Matt Pagels: The Chargers lucked out and had a player like Derwin James fall to them in last year’s draft. I don’t think that happens again, especially with the Chargers picking at No. 28 overall, which is why I won’t go with DTs Christian Wilkins or Ed Oliver unless they fall far enough where Tom Telesco decides to trade up (Wilkins, my favorite player, is the definition of a “Telesco guy,” so it’s plausible). Man, wouldn’t that be great, though?
In that case, there are three players I believe are on the Chargers’ radar, and all three of these players would be considered BPA and fill one of their top three needs. Those players are OT Cody Ford, FS Nasir Adderley and DT Jerry Tillery. Of the three, Ford is the one who might not be here, but he would be a plug-and-play right tackle with the versatility to move inside. With S Jahleel Addae and DTs Darius Philon and Corey Liuget no longer on the team, Adderley and Tillery would take their place at their respective positions. Adderley is the perfect complement to James: A ball-hawking centerfielder. As for Tillery, he’s extremely athletic, knows how to rush the passer and would instantly upgrade the interior of the defensive line (specifically at the 3-tech, with Brandon Mebane/Justin Jones splitting reps at the 1-tech). It’ll be a tough choice should all three be available, but the Chargers will be walking away with a starter.
Tyler Schoon: Dalton Risner, OT, Kansas State. The Chargers are hoping for a fall by Cody Ford or Christian Wilkins here, but are not likely to find them all the way at No. 28. Risner, though potentially the fifth offensive lineman taken in this draft, is not just a consolation prize. He’s a tough, physical blocker who fits the character mold of a Chargers player as well as a need. Likely to get a shot at right tackle, he can also play guard and center if the team opts to move on from Forrest Lamp, Mike Pouncey, or Michael Schofield next year. He’s the final truly “ready” (not perfect) tackle prospect in this draft, and the Chargers can ill-afford to wait until a “project player” like Tytus Howard or Chuma Edoga gets to them in the third round or later to find someone to step in and take Tevi’s place. Free safety and interior defensive line can be addressed in the second and third round, respectively. Better to take an offensive lineman now than be reaching for one when they should be focusing on the strength of the draft, the defensive line, later on. It’s a boring pick, it’s the obvious pick, and it’s one fans have heard about for months now. But it’s the one I’d bet money on.
Travis Wakeman: I’m on the Risner bandwagon as well and I said as much in my 7-round mock draft, found above.
As others have stated, the dropoff of quality offensive tackles is too steep after the first-round wave and that is not the case at the defensive tackle positions. Since those are the clear needs of the team, we’ll all sit back and watch Telesco draft a wide receiver in this spot (kidding, kind of.)
Telesco has never been one for the obvious picks or even the “drafting for need” picks, but this is one year where he needs to. If you watched that loss to the Patriots in January and don’t want the team to find any way to fix that offensive line, something is wrong.
Risner is a solid pick here, even if he’s not a “flashy” pick.