With the third pick of the 2016 NFL draft, the San Diego Chargers select defensive end Joey Bosa of Ohio State.
When the Chargers selected Bosa with the third overall pick in this year’s draft, I was a little disappointed; not because I don’t think he will be a good player, I just had my sights set on either Jalen Ramsey or DeForest Buckner.
Alas, the Chargers drafted the player who had been No. 1 on their draft board for the last two years.
Bosa had a phenomenal career while at Ohio State, compiling 148 total tackles (51 of which were tackles for loss), 26 sacks, one interception, six passes defensed, two fumbles recovered and five forced fumbles.
|*2013||Ohio State||Big Ten||FR||DL||11||27||15||42||13.5||7.5||0||0||0||1||1||0|
|*2014||Ohio State||Big Ten||SO||DL||15||39||16||55||21.5||13.5||0||0||0||1||1||4|
|2015||Ohio State||Big Ten||JR||DL||12||35||16||51||16.0||5.0||1||28||28.0||0||4||0||1|
(Stat chart credit: www.sports-reference.com)
A consensus All-American in both 2014 and 2015, Bosa was touted by many as the best player in all of college football for the last two seasons — at least until a month or so before the NFL draft.
In what was a bit surprising, as you looked around at all of the “experts'” mock drafts that were out there, Bosa started to fall down draft boards a few picks.
Once the Los Angeles Rams and Philadelphia Eagles moved up to secure the first and second overall picks, respectively, Bosa was no longer in the conversation for the No. 3 pick, as players like defensive back Jalen Ramsey, defensive end DeForest Buckner and offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil were all prognosticated to the Chargers.
When looking back on it and allowing it to sink in, it is actually very impressive that Tom Telesco and company were able to play things so close to the vest, not letting the cat out of the bag that the former Buckeye had been their target all along.
In an effort to come to grips with the selection of the former Buckeye, I decided to find and watch several more of his games at Ohio State. One of the things that jumped out at me immediately was how Bosa was moved around between multiple spots along the defensive line, allowing the opportunity to create mismatches in his favor. From what I saw, Bosa was as impressive on the inside of the defensive line as he was on the outside at defensive end.
In the video below — and I apologize in advance for the language — you immediately see Bosa blow up a fourth-down play by hitting the open gap and bullrushing the running back into the quarterback, ending the game and winning the contest. On said play, Bosa was lined up inside. Throughout the video, you’ll notice that Ohio State moved Bosa all along the defensive line.
In addition to selecting Bosa in the draft and already having Corey Liuget signed for the foreseeable future, the Chargers signed nose tackle Brandon Mebane during free agency, giving the Bolts what could be one of the best d-lines in football.
Though the Bolts have already stated that their first-round pick will play defensive end in the team’s 3-4 defense, they will also utilize him on the inside in passing situations. I am looking forward to them doing just that.
Moving Bosa around forces the opposing offense to attempt to game plan for each individual situation differently.
When in a third-and-long situation, you could see him line up anywhere along the defensive line. It wouldn’t surprise me if he was asked to stand up, occasionally, as an outside linebacker.
Obviously, the Chargers have plenty of plans for Bosa, seeing as Tom Telesco and members of the coaching staff have spoken glowingly about the youngster’s playing ability. The kid is only 20 years old, too. He figures to be a fixture on the defense for many years to come. In order to maximize his potential, John Pagano must make sure to be creative when unleashing the rookie, forcing teams to pick their poison on a defensive unit that sorely needed an addition like Bosa.
Now, if only the Chargers and Bosa could get things figured out on a mutually beneficial contract prior to the beginning of training camp on July 29. All Chargers fans are waiting with bated breath for that very moment.
Thanks a lot for reading.
Dave Booga Peters
Vi Teofilo is a former guard for the Arizona State Sun Devils and a mountain of a man. The youngster is 6-foot-3 and 305 pounds of solid mass. Opposing defenses will have their hands full trying to get through him.
He is as resilient as they come, considering that he powered his way through a torn ACL sustained in the Sun Bowl as the Sun Devils went up against the Blue Devils in a tight game which Arizona State eventually won 36-31. Teofilo underwent offseason surgery and rehabbed his way back on the field for the 2015 collegiate season opener against Texas A & M.
Teofilo’s signing adds depth to an offensive line that has seen more bodies down than up the last couple of seasons. Between 2012 up until his final game at Arizona State in 2015, the young lineman logged 40 straight starts at right guard. Amazing!
According to his ASU biography, he was also a four-year letter winner, a two-time All-PAC-12 Honorable Mention and a nominee for the Morris Trophy. That is an honor which is annually awarded to both the top offensive lineman and the top defensive lineman of the PAC-12 Conference. The Morris Trophy is distinctive in that the winners are chosen by fellow conference players. This year’s victors were DeForest Buckner (Oregon) on defense and Joshua Garnett (Stanford) on offense. Past winning vote-getters were Terrell Suggs, Haloti Ngata and Tedy Bruschi, to name a few.
This Chargers’ rookie is known for being a very tough, hardworking individual; competitive and intelligent. He is also extremely strong, having compiled 43 reps on the bench press at his ASU Pro Day. Stephen Paea (49 in 2011) and Dontari Poe (44 in 2012) have more. Yet, the highest ever recorded are the 51 by Justin Ernest in 1999.
It appears to me that Teofilo has brought his fierceness and strong work ethic to the next level. He can handle adversity as evidenced by playing through injury in one of the most important games of his college career, much like the guy he will be protecting once did (remember the 2008 AFC Championship game against the Patriots?).
All in all, it is going to be exciting to watch this young man in action!
Thanks for reading!
Fans and media aren’t the only ones glued to the television when the NFL Draft goes on the air every year. The players from each team are also on the edge of their seats. That interest can be divided into two sub-categories.
The main reason players are interested is to see who their rookie teammates will be for the upcoming season. The more self-serving reason is to see if the team is drafting a player at their position, thus endangering their own job status on the team.
All the buzz and rumors about who the San Diego Chargers would take with their first pick centered around Jalen Ramsey, Laremy Tunsil and DeForest Buckner. Hours before the draft multiple media outlets were predicting the Chargers taking Ronnie Stanley.
And with the third pick pick of the 2016 NFL Draft, the San Diego Chargers select…the one player the ‘experts’ failed to mention.
Ohio State defensive end Joey Bosa.
Talk about breaking the internet…social media exploded with the news. Reaction ran the gamut from shocked and surprised to angry and despondent. To his new teammates, this pick was a home run.
Great pick @Chargers welcome to the Squad Joey Bosa
— Melvin Ingram (@MelvinIngram) April 29, 2016
— San Diego Chargers (@Chargers) April 29, 2016
— Corey Liuget (@CoreyLiuget) April 29, 2016
— Jason Verrett (@Jfeeva_2) April 29, 2016
Bosa lets do this! Defense just got better
— Kyle Emanuel (@k_emanuel53) April 29, 2016
They have great reason to be excited. The Chargers have drafted a beast who will significantly improve their pass rush. Bosa was called the best player in college football. For those of you who didn’t watch follow Ohio State football here’s a small sample of what he does. Enjoy.
Looking forward to seeing the signature Bosa shrug in San Diego!
The Greg One
The San Diego Chargers find themselves poised to take the most talented player in the draft from where they sit in the number three slot. The top two slots, held by the Los Angeles Rams and Cleveland Browns respectively, will be used on quarterbacks. While Carson Wentz and Jared Goff both grade out to be the top two quarterback prospects in the draft, neither are viewed as a plug-and-play franchise quarterbacks but from where they will be selected in the draft that will be the expectation.
While the jury will be out on the top two picks for the next four years, it put the Chargers in control of their own destiny. The top choice on their big board will be available when their number is called. The right pick can result in a stalwart player who is a day one starter, perennial All-Pro and Hall Of Fame worthy. The wrong pick can set your team back years.
Should the Chargers consider trading down?
It depends on how far down and what the Bolts receive in return. The short answer is no. There is an embarrassment of riches at the top of the draft then it devolves into a guessing game with each passing selection.
Which player is the Chargers golden ticket?
There are only three names that need to be considered with the number three selection. That’s it, three. Any other selection is an out-an-out fail. Those three players are (in my order of preference):
1. Jalen Ramsey CB/FS Florida State:
Standing at 6″1′ and 209 pounds, Ramsey ran an impressive 4.41 in the forty-yard dash and recorded the best vertical (41.5 inches) and broad jump (135-inches) at his position at the NFL Combine last month. The first freshman to start at cornerback at Florida State since Deion Sanders, Ramsey is an exceptional athlete. In 2015 he won the ACC indoor and outdoor long jump titles.
Ramsey split time between cornerback and free safety in his three seasons at FSU. Over his career he compiled 181 tackles, 22 passes defensed, 15.5 tackles for loss, 5 sacks, 3 interceptions, 4 forced fumbles and 2 fumble recoveries.
Adding Ramsey to the Chargers secondary fills the void left by the departure of Eric Weddle. The Bolts added Dwight Lowery through free agency to fill that position so using Ramsey as a press corner makes a lot more sense. With Jason Verrett and Ramsey covering the top two receivers, Flowers and free agent addition Casey Heyward can come in as slot and nickel corners. The Chargers would instantly have one of the top secondaries in the league.
2. Deforest Buckner, DL, Oregon
Standing an imposing 6″7′, 291 pounds, with 34 3/8-inch arms and the largest hands of anyone at the draft (11 3/4-inch), Buckner is the definition of a freak athlete. He was able to parlay his brute strength and raw athleticism into a successful four-year career at Oregon. As an interior defensive lineman he was able to consistently push the pocket, often able to beat double teams. When he lined up as a defensive end he showed a great nose for the ball as he racked up sacks, pressures and tackles for loss.
At the NFL Combine, Buckner registered a 116-inch broad jump, 32-inch vertical jump and ran the 40 in 5.05 seconds. Those are remarkable numbers when you consider his position and his size. Placing Buckner on the interior defensive line in San Diego alongside Corey Liuget and free agent addition Brandon Mebane would be a huge upgrade and solidify a defensive line that finished 18th against the pass and 6th against the run. Pass rushing has long been a weakness for the Chargers. Adding Buckner to the existing unit greatly improves the pass rush which allows the secondary more time to make plays.
Coming out of Oregon, you know Buckner has a high motor and it shows in his game tape. Over his career he logged 232 tackles, 36 tackles for loss, 18 sacks, 10 passes defensed and 2 forced fumbles and fumble recoveries. Last season, Buckner had 10.5 sacks and 17 tackles for loss on the way to being named Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year.
3. Laremy Tunsil, LT, Ole Miss
Laremy Tunsil tips the scales at 6’5″, 310 pounds, 34 1/4-inch arms and 10″ hands. Largely considered to be the best tackle prospect in years, Tunsil has not seen his stock drop despite a tumultuous senior season. Tunsil missed time after suffering a broken leg and dislocated ankle in the 2014 Peach Bowl and ran into off-the-field trouble which caused the NCAA to suspend him for the first seven games of the season.
At the combine, Tunsil did not run or jump and stuck to doing positional drills. There, he wowed those in attendance with his size, fluidity and excellent footwork. At the Ole Miss Pro Day he improved his stock as he did 34 reps of 225-pounds, vertical jumped 28 1/2-inches and broad jumped 9’3″.
This isn’t a fast-forward effect.
— NFL Network (@nflnetwork) March 28, 2016
Tunsil is undoubtedly a franchise left tackle but it may raise more questions than it answers for San Diego. King Dunlap took less money to stay at left tackle, which includes playing time incentives due to his recent injury history. Joe Barksdale was re-signed to a four-year deal to stay at right tackle. They make too much money to come off the bench and fans will not be happy to see the Chargers number one selection sitting and waiting for his name to be called.
All three of these players have the potential to be Pro Bowl regulars and Hall Of Fame nominees if they can stay healthy. These are the three best at their position and arguably the three most gifted athletes on the board, period. These are the only three players the Chargers war room needs to be discussing and if any of these three are not the pick, personally, the draft itself was a failure.
What do you think Bolt Nation? Agree or disagree? What name would you add to this list? Remember, we’re talking about someone worthy of the third overall selection in the draft! Post your thoughts below.
The Greg One
3: Round 1, Pick 3
Defensive end DEFOREST BUCKNER
6-foot-7, 291 pounds
Buckner is a mountain of a man, sporting hands as large as any other participant in Combine history. The former Oregon Duck made a living in opposing teams’ backfields, wreaking havoc play after play. The addition of Buckner would certainly please Corey Liuget, as he would finally have a dominant player opposite him on the line, freeing him up to make plays sans a double-team block each down.
Though Buckner does have a tendency to play “too tall” at times, his brute strength allows him to overcome that. The selection of Buckner makes perfect sense for the Bolts in Round 1, especially considering that defensive back Jalen Ramsey was already selected for the purpose of this mock.
35: Round 2, Pick 4
Safety KARL JOSEPH
5-foot-10, 205 pounds
Starting as a true freshman since coming to WVU, Joseph provides a hard-hitting presence in Mountaineer secondary. Despite being a bit undersized, Joseph does not shy away from contact.
Joseph needs to work on not overpursuing in the running game, but he does a solid job corralling ballcarriers. The 2014 All-Big 12 selection suffered an ACL tear in October of 2015, ending his season. His medical reports and the condition of his knee will ultimately determine where Joseph is taken in this year’s draft.
66: Round 3, Pick 3
Center NICK MARTIN
6-foot-4, 299 pounds
The younger brother of Dallas Cowboys’ offensive lineman Zack Martin, Nick displays solid footwork and strength for the position. Martin could come in and man the starting center position for the next 8-10 years, replacing the incumbent center, and former Notre Dame teammate, Chris Watt.
102: Round 4, Pick 4
Quarterback CARDALE JONES
6-foot-5, 253 pounds
I have gone on record multiple times stating how I am not a fan of this year’s quarterback draft class. It is my belief that if you are taking one of this year’s signal callers and expecting them to come in and start that you are in for a very long 2016 campaign.
There are, however, a couple of names that come to mind when thinking about drafting a guy who can sit on the bench and learn the quarterback position in the NFL from Philip Rivers. Cardale Jones rings a bell.
Jones is not going to be confused for an accurate passer; he struggles with even some of the most rudimentary of throws at times. That being said, he does have special arm talent. He can throw the ball deep downfield, showcasing his arm strength.
Jones would definitely be a work in progress. In San Diego, he wouldn’t be asked to do much more than hold a clipboard and study his ass off in the classroom his first few seasons in the league.
175: Round 5, Pick 36
Fullback Glenn Gronkowski
6-foot-2, 239 pounds
Just what San Diego needs in its life, a little Gronk! All joking aside, the Chargers, without a doubt, need a true fullback added to the mix in the running game. There isn’t anything too flashy about Gronkowski, but he is versatile in that he can play fullback, h-back, tight end and special teams.
Gronkowski does a solid job of getting to the second level in the running game, sealing off defenders while opening holes for his running backs.
As a runner, he runs a bit too high, but he won’t be asked to carry the ball that often in the NFL.
179: Round 6, Pick 4
Defensive tackle D.J. READER
6-foot-3, 327 pounds
The Chargers solidified the nose tackle position on the team by signing Brandon Mebane in free agency this offseason. However, Mebane, 31, is not a long-term answer for the Bolts.
Drafting a player like D.J. Reader would give the team another young member to come in and split reps with Mebane and third-year player Ryan Carrethers. When healthy, Carrethers has shown that he can come in and make plays, or eat up multiple blockers.
Reader would be a solid selection this late in the draft. He moves very well for a man his size, showing impressive athletic ability.
The major concern with Reader is that he left the Tigers due to unspecified personal reasons. He did return to the squad, earning an invite to the Senior Bowl. Reader had a strong performance in the National Championship game against Alabama.
198: Round 6, Pick 23
Wide receiver DEMARCUS ROBINSON
6-foot-1, 203 pounds
When looking at the wide receiving corps in America’s finest city, one may be under the impression that the group is set for 2016. I couldn’t disagree more, seeing as Stevie Johnson isn’t getting any younger and players like Dontrelle Inman and Javontee Herndon are not starting caliber players in the NFL. Additionally, as much as I like Tyrell Williams, he is still incredibly raw.
Drafting Robinson would give the Bolts another developmental player with a lot of upside. I would have preferred to snag a receiver earlier, but this is how the draft played out.
Robinson is highly athletic, possessing nifty feet in the open field after securing the catch. He does an above average job of highpointing receptions, and then making the most of his opportunities with elusiveness after the catch.
224: Round 7, Pick 3
Punter DREW KASER
6-foot-2, 212 pounds
Although you cold probably wait until the draft is over and attempt to sign him as an undrafted free agent, Kaser has the strongest leg of all of the punters in the draft class. He broke Shane Lechler’s Texas A & M record for net-yards-per-punt average with 46.3.
In his three seasons as A&M’s punter he never had a punt blocked. He needs to work on his placement/accuracy while also learning how to get more hang-time on his punts, as opposed to distance. He has a tendency to outkick his coverage.
Drafting Kaser would obviously mean the end of Mike Scifres’ tenure with the Chargers. Scifres has had a remarkable career with the Bolts, but his skills have diminished in recent years. Releasing Scifres would also save the team much-needed money against the salary cap.
Former Oregon defensive end DeForest Buckner is visiting with the Chargers on Wednesday, according to Michael Gehlken of The San Diego Union-Tribune.
Ex-Oregon DE DeForest Buckner is visiting Chargers now. Means two things: he’s on draft board; still i’s to dot, t’s to cross in evaluation.
— Michael Gehlken (@sdutGehlken) March 30, 2016
At 6-foot-7, 290 pounds, Buckner would provide a monstrous presence opposite of Chargers’ defensive end Corey Liuget, one that the team has not had since No. 94 was drafted by the Bolts.
Now that the organization has added veteran nose tackle Brandon Mebane, a defensive line consisting of Liuget, Buckner and Mebane is, by far, the most talent the team has had on the D-line in about a decade.
Here is what some of the media pundits around the NFL have to say about Buckner:
Dane Brugler of CBSSports.com –
STRENGTHS: Looks the part with a tall, long frame and growth potential to add bulk. Massive wingspan and uses his length to unglue himself from blocks or create spacing at the point of attack, locking out, setting the edge and preventing angle blocks.
Quickly stacks and sheds, using pop in his hands to work off contact. Fluid lower body and athletic footwork to move laterally and break down in tight spaces. Plays low for a man his size with good bend, making it tough for blockers to attack his chest.
Good chase skills and hustle to catch ballcarriers in pursuit. Uses his upper body and initial momentum to generate push off the snap. Rarely met by single blocks, attracting double-teams or chips. Uses his length to swallow ballcarriers as a tackler and drive them backwards.
Long-limbed to obstruct passing lanes (10 career passes defended). Quiet, reserved personality off the field, but warrior mentality on the field, giving full-go whenever he steps on the field. Versatile experience, lining up inside and outside in Oregon’s multiple fronts.
WEAKNESSES: Leverage can be an issue at times due to his height. Struggles to recoil and reset himself after his initial move stalls. Still learning how to set up his pass rush sequence and counter moves. Only average snap anticipation.
Needs to know his limitations as a pass rusher and not sacrifice the edge. Still learning how to use his hands and consistently convert speed to power – more of a reactor as a pass rusher. Inconsistent tackler on the move, losing balance in space and not timing his hits. Want to see more of a killer instinct on each snap.
COMPARES TO: Calais Campbell, Arizona Cardinals – With monstrous body types and vines for arms, Buckner is built very similar to Campbell and he has the upside to develop into a similar player.
IN OUR VIEW: Buckner played primarily as a defensive end in Oregon’s 3-4 base, lining up as the four-, five- or six-technique, but also saw snaps inside in the A-gap or at nose tackle. He plays with explosive movements and terrific body control for his size, flashing heavy hands and initial power to be a disruptive force, although he’s still learning how to use his hands and string together rush moves.
Buckner showed steady improvement at Oregon and became more of a consistent playmaker as a senior – perhaps Stanford head coach David Shaw described Buckner best when he said: “If you’re building a defensive lineman, that’s what you build.”
He should get even better with NFL coaching and has potential to be a long-term pro starter, projecting better than his former teammate Arik Armstead (17th overall pick to the 49ers in the 2015 NFL Draft).
Lance Zierlein of NFL.com –
It would be foolish for team to be wary of selecting Buckner because of the lack of success of former Ducks defender and number three overall pick Dion Jordan, as he’s a completely different type of player. The 2015 Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year, Ted Hendricks Award finalist and member of multiple All-American squads (first team USA Today, second team AP, etc.) presents a thicker frame, portending an NFL career with his hand on the ground, rather than a stand-up pass rusher like Jordan. Buckner had become a name to note as a 2014 second-team All-Pac-12 pick (led team with 13 tackles for loss) after two seasons as a partial-year starter; he had 29 tackles and two starts, playing in every game as a true freshman in 2013, followed by a eight-start sophomore season (3.5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks). He finished off his career in style (83 tackles, 17 for loss, Pac-12 leading 10.5 sacks), putting himself among the top prospects in the senior class.
PRO DAY RESULTS
Bench: 21 reps of 225 pounds
Impressive NFL-ready physique. Has natural strength and power in his hands and improved their effectiveness this year. Not a content player, Buckner plays with effort and will continue working hands and feet to improve his positioning. Light went on as pass rusher in 2015. Generated top-end production by combining his power and dynamic athletic traits. Improved his pad level as rusher creating dominating pocket push that he was able to convert into sacks and knockdowns. Rare tackle production for defensive lineman with 163 over last two seasons. Long arms and good play speed allow him maximum field coverage to tackle. Flexible upper body. Can flip shoulders, then hips around the edge of blockers allowing him to play on the other side of the line. Has size and athleticism for scheme versatility. Quick off the snap and difficult to cut off in run game.
Plays too tall after the snap. Pad level so high that it impacts ability to stop and change direction with necessary body control. Needs to bend more when penetrating in order to avoid redirect blocks. Will need to play with wider base to take on blockers on next level. Has habit of turning shoulders and getting knocked out of position rather than taking on blocks with squared up pads.
SOURCES TELL US
“His comp is going to be Calais Campbell or Arik Armstead but I think he’s more talented coming out than either one of those guys. He’s twice the player Armstead was coming out.” - NFC Regional Scout
Headed into this season, Buckner was a traits prospect who flashed with quickness, strength and overall athleticism, but he put those traits together in 2015. Buckner has the body type of a classic 3-4 defensive end who can control the point of attack with length and power, but he has above average pass rush potential for that position which figures to push him into the early stages of round one. Buckner has similar power to former teammate Arik Armstead, but is a much better pass rusher and has a chance to become a dominant force in the NFL.
The bottom line on Buckner
Buckner is the classic example of play-by-play production trumping highlights. There has been no more productive football player in the nation over the last season or two than Buckner. He was a dramatically better player than Arik Armstead on the same defensive line a year ago, and has only improved since. Armstead went 15th overall in the first round last year, perhaps more for his potential than his productivity.
Some are going to focus too heavily on what Buckner can’t do. He won’t run down athletic quarterbacks, he will get blown off the ball at times, and he will leave some plays on the field. But if you instead look at the sheer volume of plays he is disrupting and instead focus on what he can do, then you see a player that deserves to be in the conversation when the Titans are discussing the No. 1 overall pick.
Buckner is a player that can fit in any defensive front and make a huge impact inside, and brings with him the versatility to move around and cause problems. He has consistently proven to be more disruptive than people expect him to be when you tally up all of the plays he makes, and he is one of the very best players in this draft.
Buckner would be a solid selection for the Chargers with the third pick in the year’s draft — it appears he will be available if the team wants to pull the trigger on the former Duck.
For me, it boils down to this cluster of players for the third selection: DB Jalen Ramsey, OT Laremy Tunsil, DL Joey Bosa and the aforementioned Buckner. That is, of course, only if the team stays at No. 3, as opposed to trading down in an effort to acquire more picks.
Now that the initial wave of free agency has come and gone, there are still many questions that need to be answered and holes on the roster to be filled.
For the purpose of this interview, I’ll be sitting down with the lead writer of this website, Greg Williams.
Booga: Which of the recently signed Chargers’ free agents are you most excited about?
Greg: By the slimmest of margins, I am most excited about the addition of wide receiver/returner Travis Benjamin. Slightly edging out Brandon Mebane, Benjamin had nearly four times as many punt return yards in 2015 than the Chargers did. Giving the Bolts a much-needed advantage in field position, the former Brown can swing the field in favor of the Chargers’ offense, as opposed to struggling mightily in that department in recent years. His ability to take the top off of defenses is something Philip Rivers hasn’t had since the days of Vincent Jackson. His presence dramatically opens up two of the three phases of the game for the Bolts.
Booga: Which position do you feel could still be addressed via free agency?
Greg: The center spot. Due to the fact that San Diego needs a veteran presence in the middle of the offensive line, Stefen Wisniewski should have already received a phone call from Tom Telesco, by now. He’s a Pro Bowl center who (no offense, Trevor Robinson and Chris Watt) is far and away better than the guys filling that spot now.
Booga: With the third pick, in the 2016 NFL draft, the San Diego Chargers select…….
Greg: I want the answer to be Jalen Ramsey. With his size, speed, natural ball-hawking skills and versatility, he is going to be an instant game changer. The problem is his stock is WAY too high. I’m afraid he’s going to go top-two. Also, with the Chargers already signing Dwight Lowery, they may feel they have the safety position suitably covered. I would still want him since he can play corner just as well as safety. Play him opposite Jason Verrett, put Casey Hayward on the slot receiver and Brandon Flowers in the dime package. Unstoppable secondary.
All that being said, I think the Chargers will draft DeForest Buckner. He will be there. He has freakish size, speed and power. He’s got that Oregon conditioning so he won’t gas out. His presence will open up Corey Liuget, Melvin Ingram and other pass rushers to favorable one-on-one conditions.
Booga: The retirement of Malcom Floyd has left a gaping hole in the wide receiving corps. Despite the addition of Benjamin, do you feel the position should still be addressed in the draft?
Greg: Yes. There is a good crop of receivers in this draft and none are projected to go higher than middle of the first round; meaning, there will be high quality guys available in the second and third rounds. The Chargers always seem to be pulling guys in off the street to catch the ball by the end of the year due to receiver injuries. Adding a receiver in the draft is a must. Better to have too much depth than not enough. I’m sure Rivers would attest to that.
Booga: Now that offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt is back with the team, do you think he can help steer Melvin Gordon’s career in the right direction? His rookie season left a lot to be desired.
Greg: Absolutely. Whisenhunt is the perfect man for the job. He knows how to use a power back correctly. The most frustrating thing about last season for me was watching how clueless former OC Frank Reich was in using Gordon. This was the man who just had a 2,000-yard, record-breaking, Heisman Trophy finalist season at Wisconsin using a traditional Power-I system. Fullback makes the first crack in the line and Melvin blasts through it to outstanding results. Did Reich sample that formula at all last season? No. He’s so married to his system he doesn’t want to help Gordon along with a system he’s familiar with that showcases his strengths. Instead, he wants to put him as a single back in a pistol or shotgun formation, use him as a receiving back and overuse inside draw handoffs from seven yards deep in the backfield. Gordon was doomed to fail.
Whisenhunt has a ton of experience using the style Gordon knows from his time in Pittsburgh and Arizona, and he used that style to great success. Both of his teams made the Super Bowl. He did it as a coordinator in Pittsburgh and as a head coach in Arizona. He understands using a fullback yields positive results. He will run old-school, smashmouth power sets, and Gordon will be the back we were hoping to see last season. I’m thrilled for him. I met Gordon three times at the NFL Draft in Chicago last year. He is an amazing young man and it couldn’t be happening to a better person.
Booga: If you were to grade Telesco’s free agency period thus far, what grade would you give it and why?
Greg: I would give him a B-minus.
Getting Mack would have given him an automatic-A. Looking at what Atlanta gave him, the Chargers could’ve done that contract and still had the room to sign their other guys. In their defense, however, there’s no way to know how much other guys are going to command. Getting Wisniewski would give them an A, as well.
The center problem is still a problem and the solution is still sitting there.
Mebane is a great add. All his teammates talk about how he is the soul of their defense, more so than the heralded Legion of Boom. He can occupy two defenders, opening up pass rushers, he can stop the run and he can push the pocket into quarterbacks’ laps.
I love Benjamin for the reasons I mentioned above.
Hayward hasn’t reached his prime yet. He’s going to shine because a lot of balls will be coming his way. Quarterbacks are learning to stay away from Verrett. He had six picks his rookie year and he’s shown himself to be a solid, versatile defender.
Lowery has grown into a quality pro, despite becoming an NFL journeyman. He’s going to have every opportunity to write his name in pen for the next three years at that position if he produces.
I like this free agent class a lot.
Booga: Despite a horrible 2015 for the Bolts, both on and off the field, what are your thoughts on the 2016 offseason thus far, and the prospects of the organization moving forward.
Greg: The Chargers needed this past season to happen. They needed it to see what they were doing is wrong on so many levels. The revolving door on the offensive and defensive lines is wrong. The offensive philosophy was wrong for the talent they have.
They needed the stadium fiasco to play out to light a fire under their butts and realize you can’t half-step on these stadium proposals and say they did their part, essentially blaming the fans. Now they see that the way to win back your fan base is bring in names we know to spark interest, not only in the fan base but in their own locker room.
Do you think the defensive captains are happy to hear Brandon Mebane is coming? Do you think Philip Rivers is happy to hear Travis Benjamin is coming? You better believe they’re excited! Rivers has already said he and his son were watching YouTube clips on Benjamin. That’s how you begin building a winning culture. Now the stadium task force will come correct with a viable plan and a stadium will become a reality.
The draft is going to bring in another impact player or two, and this team has a very realistic shot at getting back to a double-digit win season. They will have everyone coming back healthy and they’re playing a last-place schedule. They needed to be smacked down by reality in order to move forward. Now you’re going to see the real Chargers and a front office with their heads out of the sand.
Believe it or not, it’s a great time to be a Chargers fan. I can’t wait for the season to start!
Thanks a lot for reading.
Please follow Greg on Twitter, @LordOfTheGregs.
The 2016 NFL draft is just over two months away, while the NFL Combine is now only three days from Tuesday.
It goes without saying that NFL organizations are putting in serious overtime to prepare their draft boards in hopes of adding the necessary pieces to improve their teams.
After a seriously disappointing campaign in 2015, the San Diego Chargers secured the third selection of the first round in this year’s draft, finishing with a dismal record of 4-12.
With so many holes all over the roster, the Bolts are in a position to draft the best player available with each of their selections — especially in the first round.
Media pundits everywhere have prognosticated the Chargers drafting a number of players in the first. Having such a high position is a luxury earned by playing terrible football the previous year.
There are a number of players to be drafted by the Bolts who could come in day one and make an immediate impact. Names like Joey Bosa, Jalen Ramsey, Laremy Tunsil, Carson Wentz and Robert Nkemdiche have all been floated around when discussing the first-round options for San Diego.
Due to the aforementioned holes on the roster, general manager Tom Telesco could be looking to move down in the first round, securing additional picks to supplement a team that needs improvement in several areas.
So, I leave it to you, Chargers fans: Which player would you like to see the Chargers elect in the first round?
Below is a poll and you know the drill. Place your vote and then leave a comment supporting why you voted the way you did.
Thanks in advance for reading and voting.
I look forward to your feedback.
P.S. My vote is for Jalen Ramsey.