Los Angeles Chargers: 2019 NFL Draft retrospective


As the Los Angeles Chargers prepare for an important 2020 NFL Draft, we take a look back at last year’s showing and provide some retrospective.

It might feel a bit too soon to do a draft retrospective on the 2019 NFL Draft, as rookies could easily take massive second-year leaps, but here we are. Almost one year after the 2019 NFL Draft and we are going to break down just how the Los Angeles Chargers did.

Of course, the Chargers’ grade/performance in the draft can change in the coming years, which is why this will be a yearly series where we compare last year’s grade as well.

With the inaugural article in our Los Angeles Chargers NFL Draft Retrospective series, we take a look back at how the team did a year ago.

2019 NFL Draft Retrospective:

  • Draft order location: 28th
  • Selections: Seven
  • Pro Bowls: Zero
  • All-Pros: Zero
  • Trades: None

First-round selection: Jerry Tillery, DT, Notre Dame

One of the Los Angeles Chargers’ biggest needs in the 2019 NFL Draft was defensive tackle and the team addressed this right away in the first round by selecting Jerry Tillery out of Notre Dame.

The selection of Tillery was an interesting one and certainly was a shocking one, as he was not one of the main players that were seemingly on the Chargers’ radar heading into the draft.

However, it was hard to not get excited about Tillery, if he could become more consistent in the NFL. When Tillery was playing well at Notre Dame he was an absolute menace and alongside Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram, the expectation was that Tillery would be a huge asset.

That was not really the case for Tillery in his rookie season. Tillery showed on film that he was still raw, something that was well-known entering the league, and he did not get much playing time. Tillery played in only 36 percent of defensive snaps in 2019.

Tillery still has big potential, but after an unproductive rookie season, it is not unreasonable to be worried about this selection.

Second-round selection: Nasir Adderley, S, Delaware

The Nasir Adderley selection by the Los Angeles Chargers appeared to be a great one at the time. Adderly was projected by some to be a late first-round pick, and when I was watching the draft, I was upset that the team picked Tillery over Adderley.

The fact that Adderley fell to the team 32 picks later proves why Tom Telesco is the one making decisions.

Adderley has a lot of potential in this league as a ball-hawking safety and should fit in perfectly long-term in this dangerous Chargers’ secondary. However, Adderley was hurt last season, only played in four games and played just 10 defensive snaps.

Because of the round, and Adderley’s potential, he gets a slightly better grade than Tillery.

  • Grade: C
  • Could have drafted: D.K. Metcalf, WR, Pick 64

Third-round selection: Trey Pipkins, OT, Sioux Falls

The Los Angeles Chargers did the smart thing and addressed the offensive line with the team’s third pick in the draft, and while the line was not great in 2019, Trey Pipkins is a promising young tackle.

Pipkins was not bad in his rookie season, although he was not great either. He did his job and held his own in the 251 offensive snaps that he had. Again, a small sample size, and like Tillery and Adderley, we can get excited because the best is yet to come with Pipkins.

  • Grade: C
  • Could have drafted: Jamel Dean, CB, Pick 94

Fourth-round selection: Drue Tranquill, LB, Notre Dame

The second player from Notre Dame that the Los Angeles Chargers selected in the draft turned out to be the better player, at least in year one.

Drue Tranquill only started three games for the Chargers while playing only 39 percent of the defensive snaps, but when he was on the field, he was a difference-maker. Tranquill registered a combined 75 tackles in 380 total snaps and played well enough to be named the 39th-best rookie of 2019 by Pro Football Focus, which is great for the 130th pick.

Tranquill is not a guaranteed rock star, but there is a lot to be excited about after his rookie season.

  • Grade: B+
  • Could have drafted: N/A

Fifth-round selection: Easton Stick, QB, North Dakota State

Easton Stick made a quick impression on Charger fans in the preseason and appeared to be someone who the Chargers could get creative with, similar to how the New Orleans Saints use Taysom Hill.

Stick has the athleticism to play in that hybrid quarterback/running back/tight end mold and with the Chargers having both Philip Rivers and Tyrod Taylor ahead of him in the depth chart, it was surprising that the team did not try anything at least once with Stick.

Stick did not play a single snap in his rookie season and while he is a component of the Chargers’ future at quarterback if the team did not use him creatively in 2019, why would they in 2020? A third-string quarterback with a fifth-round pick is not a great look, but if they use Stick moving forward, this could quickly change.

Sixth-round selection: Emeke Egbule, LB, Houston

Emeke Egbule did not play much for the Los Angeles Chargers in 2019, serving only as an interchangeable special teams player. Because there was no big miss right after this selection, we cannot give it a failing grade.

  • Grade: C
  • Could have drafted: N/A

Seventh-round selection: Cortez Broughton, DT, Cincinnati

Jerry Tillery did not play much in his rookie season and Cortez Broughton did not play much at all, only playing in 21 defensive snaps for the Chargers.

There was nothing wrong with this pick and the Chargers adding depth to a position of need. With no late-round standout after Broughton, again, it is impossible to give a failing grade.

  • Grade: C
  • Could have drafted: N/A

Overall 2019 NFL Draft grade: C-

The only true standout for the Los Angeles Chargers from this draft is Drue Tranquill, who only played in a third of the team’s defensive snaps. The team did not get much help from their first two selections, which could be part of the reason why the Chargers went from the 28th pick to the sixth pick this year.

Next. Why the Chargers could trade down in the draft

The positive way to look at this is that Tillery and Adderley have untapped potential and having them blossom in year two alongside the rookies will be like having two first and second-round picks this year. That is the hope.