The Los Angeles Chargers surprised many by passing up on offensive line or cornerback, opting instead to draft Notre Dame safety Alohi Gilman.
If you told any Los Angeles Chargers fan that Tom Telesco would pass up on both corner and offensive line in the NFL Draft, you would’ve been criticized. Lost in the panic, however, was the need to replenish a revamped special teams room.
Alohi Gilman fits the bill in everything the Chargers have wanted in a special teamer, with head coach Anthony Lynn even mentioning that Gilman reminded him of Adrian Phillips.
Gilman is listed at 5-10, 201 lbs. He ran a 4.6 forty yard dash and recorded a whopping 245 tackles at Notre Dame. He also recorded 15 pass deflections and three interceptions. Gilman shared to the Chargers’ own Chris Hayre that he is a “Guy who plays the game with a lot of passion.”
New Chargers safety @alohigilman explains his game: "A guy who plays the game with a lot of passion, a guy who comes to work every day ready to go and prepared and wants to win; wants to be the best." pic.twitter.com/YPKelzLL70
— Chris Hayre (@chrishayre) April 26, 2020
The Chargers lost Adrian Phillips, Nick Dzubnar, and Jatavis Brown to free agency, all played a role on special teams. You could even say that with the departure of Melvin Gordon, Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson will be unavailable for any special teams roles as well.
With the added regression of Desmond King as a returner, the Chargers’ special teams room is in shambles. So, it shouldn’t have been surprising for the team to add a returner and an “Adrian Phillips” style player in day three of the draft.
What else shouldn’t make this move surprising? Notre Dame is practically a feeder team for the Chargers at this point. There are now six Notre Dame players on the roster, being Drue Tranquill, Jerry Tillery, Alohi Gilman, Donte Vaughn, Asmar Bilal, and Isaac Rochell.
Tom Telesco drafting that style of player from his favorite program probably shouldn’t have been a surprise, but it was to myself and many others.
HS Alohi Gilman @alohigilman
— Mike Farrell (@rivalsmike) April 26, 2020
While I fully expect one of Nasir Adderley or Desmond King to take over the Adrian Phillips role, Alohi Gilman will play a large role on special teams, which is a much bigger need that we have ignored. Gilman also had plenty of production at Notre Dame, so I’ll have much more confidence in the backup safety situation after what happened early in 2019.
Overall, I understand the selection by the Los Angeles Chargers here, and Gilman will be right at home here on the West Coast. The depth at special teams can’t be ignored, so don’t be surprised if Gilman, Reed, and a couple of undrafted free agents make their mark on the team there.