Chargers Draft

Chargers continue to bolster the run defense with fifth-round pick Otito Ogbonnia

NFL Combine
NFL Combine / Justin Casterline/GettyImages
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With the 160th overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft the LA Chargers selected UCLA defensive lineman, Otito Ogbonnia. While perhaps not a household name for NFL fans, Ogbonnia was a late-round defensive line prospect that made sense for the Bolts in this range.

The Chargers have made an effort to bolster the run defense this offseason and drafting Ogbonnia continues that trend. Ogbonnia should fit in as a rotational 3-4 defensive end in the Chargers scheme that plays early downs for the Bolts.

Sebastian Joseph-Day is likely going to primarily line up as the team's nose tackle next season with Austin Johnson also having the ability to do so with more versatility. Ogbonnia is a bit redundant with those two additions but it is clear that the Chargers wanted to add size and strength to the interior defensive line.

The Otito Ogbonnia selection by the Chargers has implications on Jerry Tillery as well

Jerry Tillery is entering the last year of his rookie contract with the Chargers and the former first-round pick may see his playing time dip from the last two seasons. Tillery played 79% of the defensive snaps in 2021 and 72% of the snaps in 2020. I would expect him to be around 55-60% next season.

This is a commitment by the Chargers to avoid playing Jerry Tillery on early downs as much as possible. With other solid depth options in Christian Covington and Breiden Fehoko, the Chargers have the depth with Ogbonnia to not play Tillery on first rounds.

Why is this important? Tillery is really poor against the run and was a big reason why the team struggled against the run so much last season. Without good depth and dealing with injuries on the defensive line, the Chargers were forced to play Tillery more on running downs and it had a poor impact.

Tillery will slot in as a pass-rushing specialist. While Joseph-Day and Johnson are both run defense specialists as well, they will likely see more snaps against the pass while Ogbonnia will almost exclusively play in early downs in his rookie year.

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It is not a sexy pick but it is one that makes a lot of sense for how Brandon Staley is trying to build out this defense. It would have been nice if someone like Travis Jones fell to the team at 79 instead of going 76, but he didn't. Taking someone like Ogbonnia at this point makes sense.

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