Chargers 2019 draft grades now that rookie deals have expired
Tom Telesco has had a hit-or-miss track record when it comes to the NFL Draft. Telesco has been responsible for some home-run draft picks but has also lacked the overall consistency to have a deep enough roster to go on sustained playoff runs.
Now that the 2022 season is over for the Chargers, the rookie contracts for the 2019 draft class have expired. Telesco historically has not signed many players after their rookie deals but there are several strong candidates from the 2019 class to re-sign.
There are also some big whiffs as well. Some late bloomers saved this draft class from being a disaster as it still might be one of Telesco's worst classes overall. Let's get into the grades.
Grading the 2019 Chargers draft class:
Jerry Tillery, first-round pick: F
Not only did Jerry Tillery not get his fifth-year option picked up as a first-round pick but he did not make it to the end of his rookie deal. The Chargers waived Tillery after the bye week this season only for him to go to the Las Vegas Raiders and make more of the same mistakes.
If Tillery did not have the pedigree of being a first-round pick his tenure with the team would not have lasted as long as it did. While he had (very few) bright moments, it is really hard to give Tillery anything above a failing grade.
Nasir Adderley, second-round pick: C-
Overall, Nasir Adderley probably goes down as a disappointment for the Chargers. There were some decently high expectations for safety that he never fully realized as a member of the team. There is still a foundation to be built on, though, so hopefully, Adderley can succeed elsewhere after he leaves this offseason.
While Adderley did not live up to expectations and had a lot of bad reps with the Chargers, he was fairly consistent, durable, and at least stayed on the field. He does not deserve a non-passing grade but he barely squeaks by with a C-.
Trey Pipkins, third-round pick: C+
If Adderley squeaks by with a 70% c- then Trey Pipkins checks in with a 79% C+. Pipkins is right below getting a B- grade and if he would have developed sooner then his grade would have absolutely been higher,
Pipkins played really well in the 2022 season and this is not reflective of that. This is more reflective of the fact that it took four years for this to come to fruition, which certainly matters. Hopefully, Pipkins can re-sign so he can raise this draft grade.
Drue Tranquill, fourth-round pick: A
Drue Tranquill has a breakout season in 2022 and was arguably the best player on the defensive side of the ball form Week 1 to Week 18 (Derwin James and Michael Davis being the other candidates). It is impossible to overstate how important Tranquill was defensively for the Bolts this season.
That is not the only reason why he gets an A, though. Tranquill was still a solid linebacker before his breakout season, kickstarting his career as an excellent special teams player in 2019. This was a fantastic fourth-round pick.
Easton Stick, fifth-round pick: C-
The Chargers drafted Easton Stick to be a cheap backup quarterback. That is exactly what he was. Expect the team to do the same thing in the 2023 NFL Draft as they do not have the cap space to pay a backup.
Emeke Egbule, sixth-round pick: D
Emeke Egbule was never more than a special teams player for the Chargers and did not last past his rookie deal on the active roster. That being said, there are different expectations for sixth-round picks, obviously.
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Cortez Broughton, seventh-round pick: D
We can write the exact same thing for Cortez Broughton that we did for Emeke Egbule. He was never a consistent contributor and did not last the entirety of his rookie deal.