The Chargers haven’t seen much out of their 2019 NFL Draft class, but Drue Tranquill has been the best of the bunch. Will he be honored for it?
Chargers fullback Derek Watt is starting to garner attention for his special teams play, but rookie Drue Tranquill has quietly produced at a slightly higher level. For his efforts, the former Notre Dame linebacker has been named to Pro Football Focus’ All-Pro team through eight weeks.
On the season, Tranquill has the third-most special teams tackles in the NFL with seven, two short of the lead. For comparison, Adrian Phillips was voted to the Pro-Bowl and received first-team All-Pro honors last year with 17 tackles through 16 games.
One edge Tranquill has so far: A blocked punt in Week 1 against the Indianapolis Colts.
If No. 49 can continue to rack up tackles, as well as make a noteworthy play here and there, it is very possible he can reach the top of the NFL’s ranking of special teams tackles.
However, it is worth noting a high number of tackles does not always necessarily correlate with end-of-season honors. Guess who was the NFL’s leader in special teams tackles in 2017? That would be Nick Dzubnar with a whopping 21. Behind him was Austin Ekeler with 17. Neither made the Pro-Bowl nor were given All-Pro designations.
So two things need to happen for Tranquill to make the Pro-Bowl, and one of them gives him an edge over Watt. The first is big plays, which help in the voting process. The second is number of snaps, but not necessarily on special teams. Phillips was the leader in special teams tackles in 2018, but his time spent in the spotlight as a safety/linebacker hybrid gave him much more national attention. In any voting contest, name-recognition is helpful. Though Watt is starting to come on strong as a special teams player, Tranquill is the one averaging over 25 snaps per game on defense.