Drue Tranquill got his chance to show off both run-stopping and coverage ability against the Arizona Cardinals, and he didn’t disappoint.
Drue Tranquill, the first pick for the Chargers on the final day of the 2019 NFL Draft, was brought in as an athletic linebacker who was very capable and comfortable in coverage. He tested well at the combine, and his physical traits make him a more prototypical NFL linebacker than most of last year’s linebacker corps. The Chargers began their quest to upgrade the position by selecting Kyzir White (also a fourth-round pick) in 2018, and Tranquill’s ability to cover ground in the run and passing game makes him another future asset against the New England Patriots.
On Thursday night, Tranquill was given 25 defensive snaps, six fewer than current second-string MIKE linebacker Nick Dzubnar. Following some stellar play in run support and a clinic interception, Tranquill may have earned himself more snaps next week.
Per Pro Football Focus, here are the five highest-graded defensive players from Thursday night’s clash with the Arizona Cardinals:
- Drue Tranquill: 87.4
- Isaac Rochell: 80.3
- Brandon Facyson: 78.8
- T.Y. McGill: 75.5
- Nick Dzubnar: 70.6
Tranquill finished second on the team in total tackles behind Dzubnar, but had the team’s only takeaway on this play:
Though this is the direct result of a great pass rush from T.Y. McGill and an errant throw from the quarterback, it takes Tranquill’s perfect execution to pull off the turnover in the end.
No. 49 looked like the team’s best defender on Thursday, and the rating all but solidifies his strong rookie debut. Though Dzubnar graded in the top five and led the team in total tackles, it’s hard to see Tranquill buried behind him for much longer. Tom Telesco may have found himself another gem with this one, adding to his treasure’s trove of draft steals once again.