LA Chargers fourth-round draft pick Drue Tranquill turned in a terrific rookie season for the team.
Going into these report cards, it was obvious that there wasn’t going to be a lot of exciting moments to relive and great play to discuss as the Chargers’ 2019 draft class was a bit underwhelming, to say the least.
But Drue Tranquill would be the one exception.
Taken in the fourth round out of Notre Dame, it was expected that Tranquill would have to become a force on special teams to really make an impact as the team had several linebackers in front of him on the depth chart and he didn’t figure to see the field for many defensive snaps during the season.
He did play a large role on special teams, but he was so good when given a chance to come onto the field for defensive snaps that the Chargers had to give him more of a chance than they likely originally planned.
Tranquill never put up huge stats in college, but the Chargers were hoping to get a versatile, athletic player who might be able to come in on passing downs and make something happen. The team was just looking for a little better version of Nick Dzubnar.
Draft grade: B-
I tabbed the selection of Tranquill as a fine pick, but it wasn’t one I was overly excited about. Tranquill seemed to exceed the expectations of just about everyone.
Going into year two, Tranquill, who was given the Rookie of the Year honors in our year-end awards, will be a player to look forward to. Following his great rookie season, he has a case to be one of the team’s starting linebackers in 2020.
Total tackles: 75
Tackles for loss: 4
Pass deflections: 1
Tranquill’s 75 tackles ranked second on the entire team, behind only Thomas Davis. That’s not too shabby for a guy who was on the field just over one-third of the time. But the Chargers also like to switch things up at the linebacker position.
Tranquill actually ended up having more total defensive snaps than Uchenna Nwosu, Denzel Perryman, Kyzir White and Jatavis Brown. One has to wonder what kind of impact Tranquill might have if he is on the field more often.
That is a decision the Chargers will have to weigh this offseason, but it’s also likely they are happy with him in the same role as well.
What will year two bring?
Tranquill is an exciting young player who brings youth, versatility and athleticism to the linebacker position. He also plays with the kind of grit and determination you love to see. That grit and determination caught the eye of the coaching staff and defensive coordinator Gus Bradley wanted to get him more involved.
In addition to the stats listed above, Tranquill also blocked two punts this year. He just seems like the kind of guy who makes big plays when his team needs a big play.
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Tranquill was fantastic as a rookie and if he can build upon that, the Chargers are going to look back and realize they got one of the best mid-round picks in the entire 2019 draft.