Los Angeles Chargers 2017 NFL Draft Recap
Not only was the move from San Diego to Los Angeles electric, so was the Chargers draft. Probably the only draft class out of all the 32 teams that will keep and use their invested players this season, simply because every single pick can and more than likely will make a difference this year. I know on paper it wasn’t the sexiest of drafts, but when you look at the overall body of work and dig into the trenches, it’s going to be the most productive rookie group this year and here’s why. Last season this team was competitive in every game they played, but just couldn’t finish games. Their 2016 season final record of 5-11 is misleading as they only lost two of those games by more than eight points. Just think if they would have been on the winning side of the other nine games, they could have been 14-2 at best. Of course, this is football and anything is possible, injures aside, the reality of it is they couldn’t find a way to win and that ultimately creates a bad team. Out of all the teams in the top ten from the draft, I can see the Chargers improving their record the most this upcoming season.
-1st Round, Pick #7: Mike Williams – Wide Receiver (Clemson)
- There are two arguments to this. The people who say that Chargers have Keenan Allen, Tyrell Williams and Travis Benjamin, they don’t need another receiver and on the flip side you have the other half saying Keenan Allen is unable to stay healthy a full season, Travis Benjamin is more of a slot guy and has injuries of his own, then the potential of one year wonder Tyrell Williams. My prediction, Mike Williams will lead this team in touchdowns and yards. He’s the biggest guy Phillip Rivers has had in a while, anyone remember when Phillip had Michael Floyd or Vincent Jackson, he made them stars, why can’t he do the same for Mike? The NFL is a passing league and it never hurts to have a plethora of serviceable receivers at your disposal, especially with the Chargers injury history on a yearly basis. Mike has strong hands and great play-making ability, but not the top end speed desired. He’s like a young Larry Fitzgerald and Los Angeles is lucky to have him.
-2nd Round, Pick #38: Forrest Lamp – Guard (Western Kentucky)
- The goal is to protect Phillip Rivers so he can last a few more seasons. The AFC West has some fierce defenses to face and the Chargers need to keep their franchise quarterback up right if they want to be in contention. Forrest was rated as the best guard in the draft and somehow fell into the second round. Sure the school he played at was a factor, but positive the Chargers were happy to see him fall to their lap. Forrest will come in and start right away on a line that allowed 36 sacks last season, enough to rank them ninth worst. In college Forrest was moved around a lot along the offensive line because he was just simply better than the competition he was up against in Conference USA, but in the NFL it’s stiff competition every week, so he is better suited for playing guard at the next level with his athleticism, quickness and ability to pull to the outside and block.
-3rd Round, Pick #71: Dan Feeney – Guard (Indiana)
- Dan is listed as a guard, but he can play any position along the offensive line. Most teams don’t draft someone within the first three rounds without having a vision. Well, in this case that vision was releasing Orlando Franklin and giving Forrest a buddy to grow with on the opposite of the center. In fact, Chargers made Dan and Forrest roommates during training camp to start a bond and build chemistry. Double rookie starting guards for the Chargers isn’t as bad as one would think. The duo will be a foundation for this offensive line to build upon for the future. Sure they’ll have their bad games, but they are rookies after all. Give them time to develop and learn from each other and down the road they’ll be one of the best guard tandems in the league.
-4th Round, Pick #113: Rayshawn Jenkins – Safety (Miami-FL)
- Jason Verrett and Casey Hayward make a safety’s job easy. They often made their starters look a lot better than what they actually were. Dwight Lowery has been a solid team jumper for almost a decade now, but his time is coming to an end for yet another team. Rayshawn will come in compete for the starting job and at worst will be a part of a rotation between the safeties. If he doesn’t start this year, he’ll be the guy for the future. Rayshawn has a physical nature to him, mostly in part of growing up with sixteen siblings. He’s good in run support and doesn’t let too many tackles escape his grasp. One thing that might delay him starting day one is his coverage skills, which need some work, but with new defensive coordinator Gus Bradley on scene it won’t be hard to teach this kid a few new tricks.
-5th Round, Pick #151: Desmond King – Defensive Back (Iowa)
- Desmond once was projected in the late first to second round. How and why did he fall all the way down to round five? Well it didn’t help that this corner class was deep and then Desmond didn’t have the best senior bowl, he just got lost among the long list prospects. Surely the Chargers didn’t care as they snatched him right up. Desmond is listed as a safety, but played mostly corner in college. No matter how he’s used, slot corner or safety, he’ll be in a starting role one way or another. Transitioning him to safety will give the Chargers a good young quadrant in the secondary. Like I stated earlier, Casey and Jason make the safeties life easier and made the starters from last year look better than what they actually are, so Desmond and Rayshawn can only grow and get better with this team. Rayshawn will be the punisher helping in the run game and blitzing the quarterback, while Desmond’s versatility, corner background and toughness will help prevent the offense from moving the ball forward.
-6th Round, Pick #190: Sam Tevi – Tackle (Utah)
- This pick was the one that might not be an immediate impact or good player for the Chargers, but look at the situation Sam is in. Russell Okung has played one full season in his seven year career. Russell’s off-season signing was an overrated move that will have the Chargers wanting their money back. Once, not if, Russell goes down with another injury, Sam will step up and fill in at one of the tackle spots. Sam won’t start the season with much playing time, but he’ll definitely end the season playing a lot. Sam’s 6’5″ body is good in pass protection with his quick feet and tough fast hands to catch the edge rushers on passing downs. He’ll need to work on keeping his head during blocks, as Sam tends to put his head down to push out the defender.
-7th Round, Pick #225: Isaac Rochell – Defensive Tackle (Norte Dame)
- With the Chargers moving from a 3-4 to a 4-3 defense, there isn’t much depth on the defensive line, so Isaac will come in and be a rotational guy to fill in the gaps in certain situations. List as a defensive tackle, but Isaac is more of a pass rusher, which bodes well for him because a team can never have enough pass rushers. Don’t see him starting, but he will come in on obvious passing downs and get after the quarterback. Has ability to close the gap on running lanes, but is very inconsistent.
Only seven selections, but every single one of them will see the field at some point this year and play some type of role for this team. Two or three players making an immediate impact in a single draft class is good, but your whole entire draft class constructing some type of role is impressive in itself. Again, it wasn’t a sexy draft class, though it’ll be an effective one. Don’t sleep on the Chargers this year, they just might shock you! Until next time, have a great day!
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