The Chargers found themselves five players from the 2019 NFL Draft who can contribute instantly on defense and special teams…
The Chargers addressed several key needs in the 2019 NFL Draft, landing two starters and three instant contributors on defense and special teams. Trey Pipkins and Easton Stick are developmental projects for the team, and are unlikely to see the field this season. However, on defense, it appears Tom Telesco has found himself five players who will make a difference this year.
Chargers’ instant contributors: Tillery, Adderley, and Tranquill
Jerry Tillery, being a first round selection, will unquestionably be a part of the defensive line rotation in 2019. Tom Telesco, in his post-draft press conference, stated that he believes Justin Jones, last year’s third round selection, is a starter. He, along with Brandon Mebane, are the Chargers’ potential first down duo, and Tillery will be brought in for passing downs until he can further incorporate himself into more snaps.
The player drafted with the most starting opportunity will be Nasir Adderley, a free safety drafted in the second round who immediately steps in as Jahleel Addae’s replacement. Addae, the starter last season, played 1,025 defensive snaps, second only to Derwin James. Adderley may not fill every one of those snaps with veterans Jaylen Watkins and Rayshawn Jenkins still with the team, but he has a chance to have much more snaps than Tillery, who if taking over for Darius Philon’s snaps only has 605 total defensive snaps to work with.
The most important part of this draft, and the main point of the article, is that Telesco found instant contributors on Day 3. That’s not to say any of them will be instant starters, but rather they will make an immediate impact on defense and special teams. Drue Tranquill, the team’s fourth round selection, steps in as one of the team’s most athletic linebackers on the roster.
More importantly, as shown in the graphic, Tranquill has posted his highest marks as a player in coverage over the past two seasons. The Chargers made it a point to draft a larger linebacker last year with Kyzir White, and have now taken another linebacker with experience as a safety who has some size. The team needed athleticism, and they got themselves an athlete in Tranquill. It’s hard to project his role with the team, as Jatavis Brown, Adrian Phillips, and White are all returning to the team with Thomas Davis being brought over from Carolina. However, given the injury history of the linebackers on this roster, it’s possible Tranquill is the first Day 3 pick to find himself starting.