Expect a great year out of LA Chargers linebacker Drue Tranquill.
Fans are excited to see a lot of different storylines playout for the LA Chargers in 2020 and the potential rise of Drue Tranquill shouldn’t be overlooked.
The Chargers made a big splash in the 2020 NFL Draft when they selected Kenneth Murray, who looks to eventually be the starting middle linebacker. The retooling of the Chargers’ linebacker group really started in 2018 and 2019 though, when they drafted Uchenna Nwosu and Drue Tranquill.
Nwosu is a solid weakside linebacker who’s active in the pass rush, but Tranquill is the one who has the potential to develop into a Pro Bowl level middle or strong-side linebacker.
In his sophomore season, there’s still some development that he’ll need to go through. In his rookie season, he played rush defense awfully well though. 382 snaps were fewer than some of the other linebackers on the team, but Tranquill still managed to have 75 total tackles. That was second on the team overall behind linebacker Thomas Davis, who played 423 more snaps.
Tranquil’s tackling was on point, and it was shown when he was playing on special teams as well. He finished 8th in special teams tackles with 11 and also had two blocked punts. That was enough to get him onto the PFWA All-Rookie Team as a special teamer. An argument could’ve really been made that he deserved the linebacker spot placement in the awards outright.
Along with his terrific tackling ability, Tranquill is decent in coverage with good rush defense skills as well. It felt like it was almost routine for him to get into the backfield and make a major stop in the running game.
In coverage, he really just had one poor game against Tennessee. Other than that game, Tranquill had just three games where he allowed a passer rating over 100. In all of his other games, quarterbacks routinely threw below a passer rating of 80 when throwing in his direction.
Murray was mentioned earlier, and it feels like Tranquill will play a pretty decent role in bringing him along. The two might be a pretty fearsome duo down the line. The setup will probably have Tranquill playing middle linebacker when he usurps Denzel Perryman, while Murray will play a lot of weakside or perhaps strong side in his first season.
It’s a pretty perfect fit as Tranquill can improve on a lot of the qualities he showed on in 2020. Meanwhile, Murray gets up to NFL speed and becomes more accommodated with pass coverage schemes.
Davis wasn’t a bad stop gap linebacker in 2019, but it’s better that the LA Chargers are leaning in the direction of the future now. Tranquill will be at the forefront of the youth movement. There’s potential for him to become the number one linebacker on the inside as the Chargers look to phase out Perryman. The skills and intangibles he demonstrated could have him develop into a Pro Bowl linebacker sooner rather than later.