Second round: Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, S, Florida
Just as Adderley was considered a steal when the Los Angeles Chargers took him at the back-end of the second round, Chauncey Gardner-Johnson was also considered a steal at the early fourth round when the New Orleans Saints took him. Not many understood how the talented defender slipped all the way there, even if his concerns were valid.
A year later, and many have forgot about Adderley, who barely contributed in a wasted rookie year. Gardner-Johnson, meanwhile, stood out in a Saints defense full of playmakers.
Gardner-Johnson demonstrated his versatility by playing snaps at many positions, including slot corner, box safety and free safety. He proved to be an excellent tackler and run defender, but also performed above-average in pass coverage.
While he may not be a complete player ready to start alongside Derwin James as a safety, he is a Swiss Army knife who can contribute all over the defensive backfield, and he even has the size and skillset to fill Adrian Phillips’ recently vacated role. He will soon develop into a quality starting safety, and his skillset would pair off beautifully alongside James.
Another player that the Chargers could have selected is Juan Thornhill, who was picked by the Kansas City Chiefs three picks after Adderley. Thornhill immediately established himself as the Chiefs’ starting free safety, and was one of the reasons that defense experienced a resurgence.
Third round: Jamel Dean, CB, Auburn
With the offensive line addressed in the first round of this redraft, the Chargers don’t need to take a shot on Tillery anymore. Instead, they keep bolstering the secondary with Tampa Bay Buccaneers and former Auburn Tigers cornerback Jamel Dean.
While Dean barely played at the beginning of the season, he flourished at the end, starting five times in the last six games and showing plenty of promise while playing as an outside cornerback.
Many mock drafts predicted the Chargers would draft a cornerback with their first-round pick, so in this redraft, they’ll get first-round value in the late third round. They’ll also address a need that’s been going on for far too long. The Chargers have lacked a reliable and consistent starter opposite Casey Hayward for quite some time now, and are still looking for that player while Michael Davis fills in.
Other players the Chargers could have redrafted are defensive tackle Greg Gaines and tight end Foster Moreau. Gaines was a solid rotational piece for the other team in Los Angeles, the Rams. Moreau proved arguably the best tight end of the class after one year, and demonstrated he’s a force in the red zone for the Las Vegas Raiders (still feels weird).
Dean ends up being the pick because of the value of his position and his upside in a well-coached secondary.