Draft prospects Chargers fans must watch closely in National Championship

Nick Spanola
CFP National Championship presented by AT&T - Alabama v Georgia
CFP National Championship presented by AT&T - Alabama v Georgia / Kevin C. Cox/GettyImages
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There are a nice variety of prospects set to play in the upcoming National Championship between TCU and Georgia at SoFi Stadium.

In this piece, I am going to highlight a few names to watch out for that would be nice fits for the Chargers in 2023 and beyond. Let's jump in!

Draft prospects Chargers fans should watch closely in National Championship:

Christopher Smith | UGA S

We all know the defensive firepower that's come out of Athens, Georgia, especially from last year's NFL Draft. The Bulldogs set a modern record by having 15 players selected in a seven-round format.

A guy who played on each national title unit is safety Christopher Smith.

In 2022, the fifth-year senior wasn't just named First-team All-SEC, he was a Unanimous All-American alongside teammate (and top draft prospect) Jalen Carter.

Smith sits at #71 on the NFL Mock Draft Consensus's Big Board, slating him as an early 3rd-rounder. However, PFF ranks him outside the top 150. In a cool survey of analytic staffers done across the league, ESPN asked about the toughest position to evaluate. 8/20 staffers answered safety, which had the most votes.

Here's a high-level breakdown of Smith's production at Georgia (data via PFF):

Season

Defensive Grade

Snaps (FS)

Passer Rating

Tackles

PBU - INT

2022

77.2

66.1%

49.0

49

4 - 3

2021

77.1

64.7%

53.8

30

2 - 3

2020

74.7

61.0%

69.8

19

1 - 0

At 5'11/195 pounds, Christopher Smith isn't the most physically imposing centerfielder, but he's capable of playing at multiple levels and isn't afraid to get his hands dirty.

Nasir Adderley hits the open market this offseason. The fourth-year safety hasn't proven much following an impressive 2021 campaign, and could be out the door for a larger paycheck elsewhere.

Although former 6th-rounder Alohi Gilman has provided occasional value, penciling him in as the starting FS if Adderley walks is playing with fire.

I think a guy like Christopher Smith, whose shown to be capable at FS and elsewhere when needed, could compliment Derwin James nicely on the backend. He's a valuable target starting round 3, and would be ready to play right out of the gate. Be sure to keep an eye out for #29 on the Bulldogs.

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