Chargers: Best rookie draft pick
- Emeke Egbule, Outside Linebacker
- Drue Tranquill, Middle Linebacker
- Jerry Tillery, Defensive Tackle
Winner: Drue Tranquill, Linebacker
Egbule has quietly been one of the better Chargers defenders this preseason, looking more and more comfortable finding the ball as he played more snaps. Seven tackles and a forced fumble are nothing to be wowed over, but the team does appear to have something in their sixth-round pick.
Tillery beats out Adderley for a nomination because he was healthier longer and appeared in more games. The first-round selection had a nice debut with flashy plays in just 21 snaps, but has been a relative non-factor since. Justin Jones is definitely the starter.
Tranquill, quite easily, is the best rookie the Chargers have had this preseason. 22 combined tackles, a forced fumble, and an interception show just how versatile the linebacker from Notre Dame has been. Nick Dzubnar has played a fine preseason (17 tackles), but Tranquill brings the sideline-to-sideline speed and hit power the Chargers desperately need at linebacker.
Though he may not start to open the regular season, expect No. 49 to be active throughout games and potentially featured on passing downs as a substitute for Denzel Perryman. He’s been way too good to be left on the bench, and even a special teams role might not be enough for a young man who’s been the team’s best rookie by far.