From the Los Angeles Rams, the LA Chargers steal…
Defensive Tackle Aaron Donald
The debate here was really only between two players, Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey. Pairing up Ramsey with his best friend Derwin James was mighty tempting but Donald is one of the top-five best players in the sport and he fills a big position of need.
Ramsey has a very team-friendly cap hit in 2020 but is due a massive payday, Donald has already had his massive payday. So it really came down to weighing the overall needs of the Chargers roster and determining who would fit best. Ramsey wants to be a shadow, lockdown man cover corner and that’s not really what the Chargers want to be running.
In my AFC North edition, I chose Geno Atkins from the Cincinnati Bengals. Donald is younger and 10 times better than Atkins has been. Donald just finished his sixth season in the NFL, he’s been voted to the Pro Bowl in every single season, he’s been first-team All-Pro in the last five, he’s racked up 72 sacks so far and he’s only missed two career games, which was the result of a preseason holdout in 2017.
Yeah, I’ll take that on a Chargers roster featuring Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram as edge defenders.
Donald has received some criticism for not consistently playing the running lanes and focusing more on his pass rush; but if you have a guy like Linval Joseph to maintain gap integrity at all times and a combination of linebackers and safeties like Kenneth Murray, Drue Tranquill and Derwin James to fill in behind him and fly around, that’s not really an issue.
To reiterate what I said when talking about Atkins, the Chargers were near dead last in terms of sacks and overall pressures. That is a problem when you have two of the better pass rushers off the edge but still are getting a limited number of sacks.
The Chargers desperately need Justin Jones and Jerry Tillery to develop, who knows if they will and that’s why hypothetically getting a truly generational talent to plug in between Bosa and Ingram is so tempting.
In this hypothetical world, the Chargers could make his contract work because of the flexibility at quarterback. Of course, they’d have to make some sacrifices in other areas but it’s theoretically possible.