Los Angeles Chargers: Grades for all seven draft picks

By Tyler Schoon
IOWA CITY, IOWA- SEPTEMBER 17: Quarterback Easton Stick #12 of the North Dakota State Bisons celebrates with fans after the upset over the Iowa Hawkeyes on September 17, 2016 at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City, Iowa. (Photo by Matthew Holst/Getty Images)
IOWA CITY, IOWA- SEPTEMBER 17: Quarterback Easton Stick #12 of the North Dakota State Bisons celebrates with fans after the upset over the Iowa Hawkeyes on September 17, 2016 at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City, Iowa. (Photo by Matthew Holst/Getty Images) /
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NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE – APRIL 25: A video board displays an image of Jerry Tillery of Notre Dame after he was chosen #28 overall by the Los Angeles Chargers during the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft on April 25, 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE – APRIL 25: A video board displays an image of Jerry Tillery of Notre Dame after he was chosen #28 overall by the Los Angeles Chargers during the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft on April 25, 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

Chargers select DT Cortez Broughton in the seventh round

Best stats:

  • 18.5 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks

The Chargers were looking to double down at defensive tackle at some point, but given their most recent selection of Jerry Tillery in the first round and their Justin Jones pick in the third round last year, there was no need to take another so early. The team opted to wait until the seventh round to find their depth player.

Broughton was a very disruptive player in his final season, registering the previously mentioned 18.5 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks, something that a guy like Dexter Lawrence did not do in college, granted against superior talent. With Jones starting (per Telesco himself) and Tillery finding a role in training camp and certainly coming in on passing downs, the team will give Broughton a chance to develop into the rotation and compete with someone like T.Y. McGill.

Draft Grade: B

Chargers select DT Jerry Tillery in the first round

Best stats:

  • 10.5 tackles for loss, eight sacks, three forced fumbles
  • 5th in pass-rush productivity, per PFF

Thankfully, the team did not (or rather, were unable to) take Dexter Lawrence in the first round. The team needed a defensive tackle, and were likely to grab one in either the first or third round. Preference for when was always debated, as the need for help on the offensive line was just as pressing.

With draft-fallers Cody Ford and Jawaan Taylor still on the board (two players that went in the second round), the Chargers opted to go with defensive tackle Jerry Tillery. This is for one reason, and one reason only: to beat Tom Brady. It’s similar to the way a team beats Rivers; rush from the outside, and he can likely step up and avoid it. Rush from the middle, and it’s hard for less-than-athletic quarterbacks to make a play. Brady had a clean pocket the entire Divisional Round game against the Chargers, in which he demolished a talented defense to stun many fans and pundits who thought the Bolts would play better. Adding size to the line not only creates pass-rush opportunities for the defense, but also allows linebackers behind the 6’6″ defensive tackle to flourish. It’s a solid, smart pick.

However…

This pick will be judged (maybe unfairly) by how well the Chargers protect Philip Rivers this season. There are currently three spots along the line that need improvement, and the organization has opted to do so with the exact same guys that were with the team last year. Yes, Forrest Lamp will have a chance to compete at guard or potentially tackle, but that scenario was already played out in 2018, in which he never saw a single starting snap. It’s a lot to ask of the offensive line to be exponentially better at three spots, particularly with Rivers’ most recent game being a pressure-fest and the team’s star running back Melvin Gordon fighting through injuries constantly.

But, for now, the Chargers have an insane defense.

Draft Grade: B+

Next. Analyzing the Chargers' regular season schedule

It’s very hard to not have the grade be pushed to an A-, but the team ultimately pays for its grade with the Pipkins selection in the third round, which is more due to the reach rather than the player. This team just got so much more athletic and physical on defense, as well as full of more depth behind starters. On offense, the team found a tackle to compete for a starting job or become the team’s future left tackle, as well as a smart and accurate quarterback to develop for a few years. This is a great draft haul, and one that helps the team immediately. There are at least two immediate starters in this class, and three that fill fill out depth or special teams roles throughout the season. Great work, Tom Telesco. Final Draft Grade: B+++

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