Chargers select LB Emeke Egbule in the sixth round
- 69 tackles, two sacks, two interceptions, two forced fumbles
Following the retirement of former fifth round selection Kyle Emanuel, the Chargers were looking for another OLB/DE versatile player to fill that role. Emanuel leaves behind 216 snaps on defense and 189 snaps on special teams, and although Egbule will not be the only player tasked to fill those snaps, it would be safe to assume he helps out, particularly on special teams.
Egbule (pronounced egg-boo-lay) is an incredibly expolsive linebacker who can both rush the passer and drop into coverage, fitting the theme of diversity of position and athleticism that ran through this draft class. The Chargers are filled with multi-talented players on defense, and Egbule will be a fun addition to the team. It may be hard for him to find the field initially because he is a jack-of-all trades but not dramatically better at one, so it could take some time for Gus Bradley to find him a regular role early this season. However, expect to see him on special teams making plays.
Draft Grade: B+
Chargers select LB Drue Tranquill in the fourth round
- 6’2″, 234 pounds, 4.57 40-time, 31 reps on the bench press
Those “measureables” are there for a reason: The Chargers are getting bigger and faster at linebacker. Not that someone like Adrian Phillips isn’t valuable to the team, but specifically Jatavis Brown and Denzel Perryman in particular have had trouble remaining on the field. Kyzir White’s selection last year, Thomas Davis’ signing this year, and now Tranquill’s selection on Saturday confirms that the Chargers want athletes.
That’s not to say Tranquill is a big linebacker by any means, but he’s not as undersized as some current Chargers’ starters. The former Notre Dame player was once a safety, but made the transition to linebacker thanks to his desire to hit and be aggressive. Again, it fits what the Chargers have been doing all along; guys like White and Phillips both have experience at safety, but are asked to do much of their work as linebackers. Tranquill fits the same mold, and it will be interesting to see what kind of role he has when the contracts of Phillips and Brown expire.
This pick looks like one of those Tom Telesco Day 3 specials, finding another player with a later pick that will surprise and outperform their draft position. Look for Tranquill to be active earlier than expected.
Draft Grade: A-