With the first sixth-round pick, the LA Chargers select…
It’s a little crazy to me that Tyler Linderbaum doesn’t usually go higher than the fifth or sixth round. Maybe that changes as we get closer to the draft. If he gets to the sixth round, he’s exactly what the doctor ordered for the Chargers at Center.
Mike Pouncey will probably not be back next year as a free agent. Further than that, he may not play football again. Dan Feeney has been rather iffy this season as a blocker in Pouncey’s place. Scott Quessenbery is decent when he plays, but the coaching staff tends to play Feeney over him.
Linderbaum would help drastically at Center. He just won All-Big 10 and first-team honors with the Iowa Hawkeyes. Other than Creed Humphrey, there’s not a better interior offensive lineman in this draft from an anchoring standpoint. Quick feet and reflexes are hard to find in college centers too.
With the second sixth-round pick, the LA Chargers select…
If the Chargers don’t re-sign Hunter Henry, tight end obviously becomes a much more pressing need. He likely will re-sign though, so the Chargers are looking for more of a supplementary tight end than a starter right now.
Virgil Green has taken up a lot of the blocking responsibility for the Chargers in recent years, but his 2021 status is up in the air after a season-ending injury vs. Jacksonville. Like Henry, Green is also a free agent.
Brant Kuithe isn’t the blocking tight end that Green is yet, but he does have impressive measurables. Standing at 6’2″ 240 with quality speed, Kuithe is awesome to watch in the open field. He’s more built like a powerful running back than a tight end.
Last year, Kuithe caught 34 passes for 602 yards and rushed for 102 yards. His running ability can really present a huge problem for defenses and very few tight ends have the athleticism he does. They may be bigger, but not faster in open field speed.
Next to the 6’5″ Henry and 6’8″ Donald Parham, Kuithe could be a nice contrast in that group. If he develops into a better blocker in the pros, I’d go as far to say he could form a pretty potent duo with Henry.
With the seventh-round pick, the Chargers select…
Running back doesn’t rank high on the list of Chargers’ needs, but I’m not opposed to one being taken in the sixth or seventh round.
C.J. Verdell averaged five and six yards per carry in his first two years at Oregon respectively. He went over 1000 rushing yards in each season. That’s really impressive, especially at Oregon where running backs generally aren’t the featured piece in the offense.
Verdell runs hard and with force. It takes more than a few guys to bring him down. The Chargers thought they were getting more of a power back with Joshua Kelley but that’s actually what they would be getting with Verdell.
Special teams value in kick returns is also a strength of Verdell’s. That might be useful for the Chargers considering they just haven’t been able to find a reliable kick returner from game to game.
I’m not saying Verdell should replace Kelley if he is picked, but he’s a good pick here to push him. Justin Jackson will also be a free agent after 2021.