LA Chargers pick Justin Herbert in final 2020 mock draft

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(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) – LA Chargers
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) – LA Chargers /

With the 71st pick, the LA Chargers select…

71. 13. . Linebacker. Akeem Davis-Gaither

One of my position predictions for the draft was that the Chargers would draft a linebacker fairly early. With Akeem Davis-Gaither still on the board, he fits pretty well with the Chargers.

Davis-Gaither is a terrific tackler. On paper, one could look at the 96 tackles he had in 2018 or the 101 tackles he had in 2019 and derive that. Tackles for loss increased by about five percent in his senior season though. Over the course of the year, his ability to get into the backfield and blow up plays grew. He also had five sacks in 2019.

The most important thing is that he’s a complete linebacker. He has great coverage instincts on deep dropbacks or zone coverages. If the Chargers are unable to get Simmons in the first round or pass on him, Davis-Gaither may be the next best hybrid linebacker out there. At 6’2 220, he has the size and speed to stick with even some of the fastest wideouts in coverage. He’s no Simmons, but he could develop into a version of him one day with his raw ability.

Davis-Gaither reminds me a lot of Kwon Alexander. He’s got great speed and reaction with terrific athleticism. He’s what the NFL looks for in linebackers nowadays. His coverage skills are also something no current Charger linebacker has. While Tom Telesco might say that he feels OK at linebacker, Davis-Gaither would be a nice shot in the arm for a linebacker group that’s been so-so in pass coverage.