Michigan prospect who dominated NFL Combine should now be on Chargers' radar

Los Angeles Chargers Introduce Jim Harbaugh As Head Coach
Los Angeles Chargers Introduce Jim Harbaugh As Head Coach / Ronald Martinez/GettyImages

The 2024 NFL Combine is in full swing in Indianapolis. It is the perfect opportunity for head coaches, general managers and other staffers to evaluate and meet the players who will be participating in the next NFL Draft. Among other things, they evaluate their speed, strength and athleticism, in addition to their discipline and personality. Chargers head coach Jim Harbaugh is present in Indy to take all of this into consideration as he builds next year's roster.

Harbaugh watched when top Michigan prospect Kris Jenkins ran the 40-yard dash in 4.91 seconds. In addition to surpassing his first attempt's 5.02 sec, it is notable that a 300+ pound defensive lineman went under 5 seconds. He also ranked top-5 among defensive linemen this year. Harbaugh timing Jenkins' 40-yard dash with his stopwatch became an iconic 2024 combine moment:

Not only did Jenkins excel in the 40-yard dash, but he also faired well in other drills, such as the hoop drill. According to Pride of Detroit's Erik Schlitt: "He kept his speed while showing fantastic dip, bend, and delicate touch, illustrating he was in full control of a drill many struggle with."

Chargers should target Kris Jenkins in the 2024 NFL Draft

Although the Chargers had a disastrous run defense in 2021-2022, they finished as a middle-of-the-pack run defense in 2023. However, DL Sebastian Joseph-Day, the best run defender for the Chargers in 2023, was cut at the end of last season, and DL Austin Johnson is now a free agent.

Kris Jenkins could be one of the replacements, given he is one of the best run defenders in the next Draft. He has a knack for tackling running backs, even with big offensive linemen on him. He is also familiar with Harbaugh and defensive coordinator Jesse Minter, with whom he played extraordinarily the last few seasons at Michigan.

Although Jenkins' showdown at the Combine could bolster his draft capital, he is still projected to be taken in the second round. Therefore, the Chargers would be in the mix with the 37th pick in the draft.

Other defensive tackles who stood out in the Combine include Texas' T'Vondre Sweat (a potential late first-round or second-round selection) and Florida State's Braden Fiske, who was the fastest DT in the 40-yard dash.