Should the Chargers move on from free agent safety Eric Weddle, it’s possible that his replacement could be found in the upcoming 2016 NFL Draft.
A young man from Boise State might be the answer, perhaps as early as the second round. His name? Darian Thompson. Let’s take a look at him
Weight: 215 pounds
40 time: according to NFL Draft Scout, Thompson ran 4.56 in the 40-yard dash.
- The former Boise State Bronco is versatile in that he can play either safety position as well as corner. He is known for being a ball hawk having made five interceptions, four passes defensed and forced two fumbles in the 2015 campaign alone. Career stats are 242 tackles (129 solo), 15 tackles for loss, one sack, three forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and 19 interceptions. The nineteen picks set a new Mountain West division record, previously held by Eric Weddle.
Thompson is always on the hunt with displaying great instincts and awareness. He reacts decisively, is a run-stopper in the box who also can centerfield and drop into coverage or play man to man against the tight end and/or bigger wide receivers in the slot. Similar to Weddle, he is a very self-aware and vocal presence on the back end and can be the guy in charge of the secondary.
One of his weaknesses is that his aggressive demeanor occasionally leads to missed plays, as he sometimes loses track of the wideouts. He will need to learn to be more disciplined as he transitions from collegiate ball to the professional ranks. If he works on that part of his craft, his draft stock may go up.
Should Chargers general manager Tom Telesco decide to target Thompson, they may find stiff competition awaits. Due to his stellar Senior Bowl play, Thompson has met with 15 General Managers and had a personal interview with one NFL head coach.
There is no doubt he would make an excellent addition to San Diego’s secondary.
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It is no news to anyone that the San Diego Chargers are in dire need of a running back.
In fact, they need a running back that can do more than just take hand-offs from Philip Rivers. They need a back that can also catch passes and convert first downs, as well as bang it into the end zone when the game is on the line. Enter the quick and sure-footed running back out of Boise State, Jay Ajayi?
Weight: 221 lbs.
40-Yards Dash: 4.57 Seconds
Jay Ajayi is an extremely versatile running back, something that would benefit the Chargers tremendously. His size assists him in breaking and spinning off tackles to gain extra yards. The former Boise State Bronco made catches out of the backfield, was a power-back between the tackles, ran outside and even lined up as a wide receiver.
He displays good hands/vision/zone-blocking skills coupled with great footwork due to his years playing soccer. A powerful downhill runner, he plays with patience and is dangerous coming out of the backfield. This is where the Chargers can expect him to be most effective for them as proven by his college rushing statistics: 3,796 yards on 678 attempts and 50 touchdowns (TDs); he made 73 catches for 771 yards with five TDs.
At the professional level, NFL.com has compared Ajayi to Marshawn Lynch of the Seattle Seahawks because they share a similar body type and running style. Like Lynch, the draft prospect uses the stiff arm to keep defenders away, is a physical runner, and has the potential to be a three-down back.
My projection is that Jay Ajayi will be selected in perhaps the middle of the second round. He has what it takes to be a difference maker in the NFL, and the Bolts should attempt to pick him up if the running backs expected to go before him (Melvin Gordon (Wisconsin), Todd Gurley (Georgia), and Tevin Coleman (Indiana) are not available.
What do you think, Chargers faithful? I’m good with my choice. Do you feel the Bolts general manager Tom Telesco has Ajayi’s name penciled in on his draft board for San Diego?
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Branden Oliver, Danny Woodhead, and Donald Brown. As of right now, these are the only running backs, barring a trade or release, guaranteed to be a Charger at the beginning of the 2015-16 season. Without needing to say much, it is alarmingly apparent that none of these ball carriers are the answer when looking for a bell-cow. This draft has many a talent at the running back position and it would be hard for San Diego avoid snagging one this year. One of the names many hope to see in powder blue is Boise State HB, Jay Ajayi.
Projected 40-Yard Dash: 4.57
*All Pre-Combine unofficial estimations
Jay Ajayi had a monstrous 2014 campaign. He put up 1823 yards along with 28 touchdowns with 347 carries which totals just about 5.3 yards a pop. Though this was his best season as a Bronco, this was not his breakout season. The year prior, as a redshirt sophomore, Ajayi toted the ball 249 times for 1425 yards and 18 touchdowns, which is a pace of 5.7 yards a carry. In 2014 he also showed his ability to catch out of the backfield as he posted career highs in catches, yards, and touchdowns with 50/535/4.
Ajayi has a great body for a running back, which can be seen via his beefy build. Do not let that fool you though, as he is very deceptive with quick feet and great burst. What I like most about Ajayi is the combination of power and pad-level he has, making him a nightmare to tackle, and almost impossible to push backwards. What I do not like about Jay sticks out like a Raider at a Pro Bowl, he does not run well inside the tackles. Matter of fact, he rarely runs between the tackles at all! He bounces a lot of runs outside looking for the home run which is a trait that will not lead to success at the NFL level. Another concern is his mileage. Ajayi has touched the ball over 750 times in 38 games. That’s 20 touches per outing which has led to minor, but numerous, injuries. He’s fast, but not breakaway fast and gets hawked down pretty often. He also has a few character issues with a couple of misdemeanor run-ins with the law in 2011, and banned from a bowl game the same season, as well as the season opener in 2012.
Ajayi could be an every down back, but in my eyes, his career would last much longer if he was to take on a role similar to that of all the running backs on our roster so: complimentary. While I do not hate on his game, I am turned off by his college usage and inability to succeed inside. Lead Writer and Editor, Booga Peters, has him in the first edition of his mock draft here.
To douse any burning curiosity of who this prospect is, take a look at the highlight tape below:
Thank You and stay tuned for many more draft profiles on 2015 NFL Draft prospects!