Los Angeles Chargers May Scouting Report
Prior to this year’s draft, the Chargers said that rather than going after need, per se, they have a "best player available" strategy. But the reality is that they did attempt to fill their needs, and preliminarily, it seems as if they did a good job at it. Here is a look at the team, by position, with an emphasis on the team’s draft picks.
QB: As you likely know, it is all about the Chargers outstanding QB Justin Herbert. If the team does start to establish any measure of success in Los Angeles, it will largely be of Herbert’s doing. The Bolts desperately needed a marquee quarterback, and they got one. But they did need to shore up protection for their young quarterback, and it appears that they may have accomplished that wth their pick of OT Rashawn Slater out of Northwestern. Slater was widely considered to be a Top 10 draft pick, so getting him in the 13th slot was a real bargain for the team. The Chargers also added OT Brenden Jaimes out of Nebraska in the 5th round. Jaimes is not projected to be an immediate starter but is more of a depth player who could be moved to the guard position.
RB: The Chargers have a particularly good and versatile starting RB Austin Ekeler and two competent, if inconsistent, running backs in RB Justin Jackson and RB Joshua Kelley. The report cards are still out on Jackson and Kelley, so the team added RB Larry Roundtree III out of Missouri in the 6th round. I like this pick, as Roundtree is not flashy, but is particularly good at achieving consistent forward momentum. While Roundtree is a north/south runner, he has solid lateral movement and is good at evading tackles. Another solid value pick for the Chargers.
WR: The Chargers are seemingly in good shape at WR. WR Keenan Allen is one of the best in the game. WR Mike Williams is the deep threat and I still feel as if he is a bit of an underachiever. Backups WR Jalen Guyton, WR Tyron Johnson and even WR K.J. Hill have all shown flashes. But to further solidify what I already considered to be a strong position; the Chargers added WR Josh Palmer out of Tennessee in the 3rd round. I was surprised that the Chargers drafted a wide receiver at such an early point, but this must have been a player they were after. I am not sure that wideout was the team’s most pressing need in the 3rd round, but time will tell how Palmer does as a Bolt.
TE: For the record, I still believe that the team should have retained now Patriots’ TE Hunter Henry. But what is done is done. Trying to fill Henry’s shoes are 13-year veteran TE Jared Cook and sleeper hybrid TE Donald Parham, Jr. Parham has surprising speed and good hands. He could play a major role in the Chargers offensive scheme as a big play tight end, although he will likely be considered the second fiddle to Cook. In the 3rd round, the Chargers selected TE Tre’ McKitty out of Georgia. McKitty is another one of those hybrid WR/TE sorts, with good hands, good speed and decent evasiveness for a big man. I have seen some describe this pick as a reach, and I agree round 3 might have been too early, but I do feel that McKitty has solid potential.
PK: As of this writing, PK Mike Badgley is the presumed starter. But in my view, Badgley simply is not very good, particularly outside of 40 yards. Enter free agent PK Alex Kessman, who does have a big leg and is known for his accuracy at 50 yards and beyond. Kessman will be allowed to go head-to-head with Badgley and I would not be surprised if he wins that competition.
DEF: The Chargers also addressed defensive needs by selecting DB Asante Samuel, Jr out of Florida State in the 2nd round. As you may know, Samuel is the son of former Pro Bowl CB Asante Samuel, Sr., so he comes from good genes. In my view, Samuel looks like a "cannot miss" player if he can stay healthy. He is aggressive, while keeping his wits about him. He is a sticky cover man with excellent positing and technique. I like the pick a lot. The Chargers also added DE Chris Rumph out of Duke in the 4th round, to try to replace some of the edge pass rush lost by the departure of DE Melvin Ingram. Other defensive draft picks were LB Nick Niemann out of Iowa in the 6th round and DB Mark Webb out of Georgia in round 7.
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