The 2021 NFL Draft is fast approaching and there has been a bit of a debate on what position the LA Chargers will target in the first round. Will the team protect Justin Herbert’s blindside with a left tackle? Or will the team address the big need at the cornerback position first?
New Chargers head coach Brandon Staley talked to the media on Thursday and had some pretty revealing quotes about what he views as needs for the team, as well as the priorities that he has for each position.
The most revealing quotes were about both left tackle and cornerback. When it comes to tackle Staley said (h/t Fernando Ramirez), “there is a hole right now […] we need to fill it before July.” He also emphasized getting size on the offensive line.
Regarding the cornerback position, Staley laid out the things that he finds valuable at the NFL level:
Lots of good information from #Chargers HC Brandon Staley about what he likes in NFL cornerbacks.
– Gotta cover man-to-man!– Movement ability when playing off coverage– Ball judgement/skills when at the third level– Tackling (Need that)
— Michael Peterson (@ZoneTracks) April 8, 2021
All of this might be telling us who the LA Chargers are going to draft at 13.
I believe I have cracked the code. Staley admitted that there is a hole at the left tackle position and he values size. He also laid out a very specific skillset for a cornerback that certain prospects have and certain prospects don’t.
If the Chargers are going to go with a first-round cornerback then Jaycee Horn fits the bill. However, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that the Chargers might be targeting someone else at the cornerback position.
Asante Samuel Jr… in the second round.
Samuel almost exclusively played man coverage at Florida State with his biggest concern being how he would adjust to a zone coverage defense. That is not a worry the LA Chargers would have. Samuel has really good on-ball skills and is disruptive at the point of attack. He is not an elite tackler, but certainly did not show any holes in that regard in college.
Most importantly, he is versatile and was moved around on Florida State, even playing snaps at the slot corner position. Joe Marino of The Draft Network lays it out perfectly and it sounds eerily similar to what Staley wants in a cornerback.
“Samuel Jr. has the potential to start at the next level for a defense that plays a lot of man coverage and is willing to move him around to maximize his strengths.”
Thus, we can conclude that the LA Chargers are going to draft a tackle in round one, but which tackle? Staley’s comments about wanting size, particularly on the edges, is very telling. That tells me that the team is not going to take a guard/tackle prospect. That takes Alijah Vera-Tucker out of the conversation.
You know who has size? Christian Darrisaw. The six-foot-five tackle played left tackle at Virginia Tech and has all of the physical traits that a team looks for in a left tackle. Darrisaw has also started every season since his freshman year, so he has a good amount of reps under his belt.
Christian Darrisaw at 13, Asante Samuel Jr. at 47 (hopefully, he is still available). Book it right now. Screenshot this. Send it my way once the LA Chargers draft them both later this month.