For those of you who still care about the fate of the team formerly known as the San Diego Chargers, I bring you my one-and-only mock draft. Yes, I know they are now the Los Angeles Chargers, but like a vast amount of you I hate the sound of it, the look of it and my fingers hurt just typing it. We all cope in our own way and I go forward with solid belief that by the time the two years in the StubHub Center is over, Dean Spanos will have sold the team (by will or force) to an owner who will return the team where they belong in America’s Finest City.
With the draft only a few days away, thankfully, the season of a million mock drafts will also come to an end. I’m throwing a wrinkle into this year’s edition. Since the team never picks the player I want, for the first few rounds I am separating my dream pick (the guy I want) and the actual pick (the guy I believe they will actually take). I’m happy to be wrong on last year’s first round pick (I wanted Jalen Ramsey. Joey Bosa was and will be a home run for the next decade as long as he can stay healthy).
I hope you enjoy my mock. Let me know what you think in the comments below.
Round 1: (My pick) QB Deshaun Watson, Clemson. It is that time. Time to pick a quarterback of the future. Like I’ve admitted many times over, I’m the President of the Philip Rivers fan club but even I can see that his run is coming to an end. I’m not saying his skill is declining. He will be among the league leaders in passing as usual this season. However, his body takes a pounding every season from having a suspect offensive line blocking for him. We never see his name on the injury report but we’ve seen him labor during games. Couple that with his disdain for leaving San Diego to play in Los Angeles and I say he’ll bridge the two-year gap leading into the permanent residence in the Taj Mahal Rams owner Stan Kroenke is building.
Hence, the benefit of having a star quarterback on the roster. All the talk is about how none of the quarterbacks in this draft are ready to be day one quarterbacks because none of them came from a pro-style system. Air raid quarterbacks fail at large because they’re thrown into the fire too soon.
Watson would come into a perfect scenario where he would get to sit for two seasons behind Philip Rivers and learn the game from a master of the craft. That would be more than ample time to master the playbook and learn the nuances of a pro-style offense from taking the ball from under center to reading defenses and making calls at the line. This is the perfect time for a top-tier quarterback. Watson brings an undeniable charisma, raw natural talent, athleticism rarely seen in a quarterback, and the swagger that comes with leading his team into the National Championship game two seasons in a row and winning one.
In my opinion, Watson is the best quarterback in this class. Everyone will say taking him at pick seven will be a major reach. They won’t be saying that when he’s torching defenses in 2019. The precedent is as close as the guy he will be replacing. Rivers sat two years behind Drew Brees and I’d say that turned out pretty damn well wouldn’t you?
On to the man I think Telesco will actually pick…
S Jamal Adams, LSU. It seems to be six of one, half a dozen of the other when it comes to the top two safeties in the draft, Adams and Malik Hooker out of Ohio State. Both are big, physical and versatile playmakers who will provide an instant impact when they step on the field. Given the fact that seemingly every year two teams trade up into the top five for a quarterback, I believe this year will be no different. The teams trading up will push both safeties into the Chargers spot and given the choice, I believe Telesco will take Adams. If Adams is gone, the pick will be Hooker.
Round 2: (My pick) S Jabrill Peppers, Michigan. I know what you’re thinking. Two safeties? Not quite. Peppers is listed as a safety because he can play both safety positions exceptionally well. However, he can play slot corner and linebacker, too. Talent that versatile is a steal in the second round. Up until a short while ago, Peppers was considered a top-ten talent. A failed urine test revealed this week has damaged his draft stock and will lead to a precipitous drop. First round talent will drop into the second and this will be the biggest name of them all.
Speaking of steals, the second round pick of the Chargers also managed to fall from grace and into Day 2 for reasons unknown.
OT Cam Robinson, Alabama. The Chargers can’t have enough help on the offensive line and the 6’6″, 322-pound behemoth will be a Godsend if he’s still on the board when the Chargers pick.
Round 3: WR Curtis Samuel, Ohio State. Dual-threat capability as a running back and wide receiver fills a need to find a replacement for the now-departed Danny Woodhead in the backfield and adds depth to the receiving corps. By the way, his 4.3-speed would also come in handy in the return game.
Round 4: DT Dalvin Tomlinson, Alabama. More beef in the center of the defensive line is always a good thing and a blue blood at this spot is a great value pick.
Round 5: ILB Ben Boulware, Clemson. Boulware is a bulldog on the field. He is always near the ball, a tackle machine and a defensive leader. Great football IQ.
Round 6: QB Josh Dobbs, Tennessee. This is the point where the Chargers waste a draft pick on a quarterback project. Could be a different QB, but a QB nonetheless.
Round 7: RB Wayne Gallman, Clemson. The Chargers lack depth in the running back room. Gallman is an excellent all-purpose back and powerful rusher.
So concludes my Tigers-heavy, (If I get my way) mock draft. What do you think? It will be fun to see the drama unfold over the next three days — especially since we are here in person, AGAIN!
The Greg One
The staff at BoltBlitz.com gives their picks and analysis of Sunday’s home opener
Zak Darman: Chargers start out hot and get out to a two-score lead going into halftime, giving the fans thoughts of last game. They come out sluggish once again, as Jacksonville, behind Bortles and Julius Thomas, tie it up but Rivers executes a beautiful two-minute drill to get into field-goal range where Lambo nails a 48-yarder to give the Bolts their first win of the season. 27-24 Bolts
Charles LaFurno: McCoy lets Gordon run wild and it pays off. 100+ yards on 20 touches for two touchdowns. Defense comes up huge with a turnover late in the fourth to secure the win. Henry gets his first touchdown. Philip throws for 300 yards but will be under pressure for at least 70% of the game. Luckily, he’s great when doing that. Chargers 24 Jaguars 20
Travis Blake: The pregame strategy meeting between McCoy/Pagano/Wiz goes like this: McCoy starts off by saying “we’re really going to shake things up this game, boys. Since we have to limit Melvin Gordon to 20 carries, I want him to get 19 of them in the second half this week instead of the 1st half like last week. The Jags won’t know what hit em!” Pags chimes in with, “that’s great, Mike! I want my guys to blitz/get pressure only in the second half this game instead of the first half like last week, they won’t be able to handle it!” Wiz looks at both of them and thinks, “at least the weather is nice here, and this job pays good.” So after the best game plan meeting in 4 seasons, and an excellent week of “salty” practice the team comes out to shit the bed in the first half of the game. Every other play is a delay draw to Danny up the middle for little or no gain leaving 3rd and a mile to go, perfect time to throw a bubble screen to Travis Benjamin behind the line of scrimmage. Rivers throws a frustration pick to end the first half and the defense bends to the tune of 250 total yards but only gives up 13 points to a Jax offense that looks sluggish. The second half sees the Bolts come roaring back with Melvin Gordon leading the charge for two more touchdowns. The Bolts win only due to the fact Jax is not quite there yet and the two teams don’t play each other very often. Charger fans complain for another week because we didn’t blow out the hapless Jags and the #FireMcCoy hashtag goes in popularity. 24 to 19 Bolts
Corey Decker: The bolts are looking to make a statement in front of their home crowd. Not just for the team, but for the city as well. The chargers must bounce back and not take their foot off the gas like what happened last week. Chargers 24-10
Cheryl White: Whiz continues to feed Gordon all game and Tyrell Williams uses that big body to his advantage. Isiah Burse sees some playing time. Scores by Gordon, Williams, Woodhead. And of course #85! 27-21 Chargers
Chris Hoke: In a high scoring affair the bolts break out to a 14-0 lead only for the jags to come charging back. Trading points for points. The Chargers lose another heartbreaker. 31-28 Jaguars
Mike Pisciotta: Jacksonville is Jacksonville. Chargers will get out to a resounding 28-10 lead on 2 TDs each from Philip Rivers and Melvin Gordon. Jacksonville will make a valiant effort to make McNorv pay for sitting on another lead, but the Bolts hold on to win on a late field goal by Josh Lambo and a comeback drive thwarted by a Jason Verrett pick six. 37-31 Chargers
Will McCafferty: I’m going to assume that the Chargers are going to play a complete game and not pump the breaks in the second half. Chargers 28 Jags 20
Greg Williams: Chargers learn their lesson from last week and show up for BOTH halves. Gordon runs for 80 and a touchdown and Rivers throws three touchdowns (two to Gates). Chargers beat the Jags 30-20.
Dave “Booga” Peters: Gordon scores twice, again. Manti Te’o provides an encore performance of last year’s Jags-Bolts contest, picking off Bortles (and missing several tackles). Chargers rack up almost 200 yards on the ground and Rivers passes the 300-yard mark in an offensive explosion. Jalen Ramsey picks off Rivers and does “the Bosa shrug,” reminding fans who the team should have taken (I’m kidding, folks…. kinda). Chargers 31 Jaguars 30
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
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
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 Chargers need help in a big way at numerous positions between now and Week 1 of the regular season if they want to make a push for the division and make their first playoff appearance since 2013. The number one thing Tom Telesco should search for in a player is a distinctive nastiness giving them that much-needed enforcer.
The Bolts need help at O-Line, and what better way to beef it up by adding a brute up front. Inconsistent play has led to a porous run game that yields next to nothing, and Philip Rivers finds himself on his behind a lot more than he should be.
Re-signing Joe Barksdale to a four-year, $22.2 million deal that includes $10.5 million guaranteed was a step in the right direction to help rectify that problem. Also, the Chargers have a lack of depth and experience at receiver with Keenan Allen being the only receiver with continuity with Rivers, as he’s served as one of Rivers’ three core targets over the last two and a half seasons.
Lastly, the Bolts’ D-Line resembles that of a pillow fight. It almost feels like it’s impossible to get pressure on opposing signal callers and get stops in the run game. The Chargers can go out and sign a quality D-Lineman or a run-stuffing specialist.
There’s plenty of talent out there this year, but, most importantly, they need to snag a defensive enforcer off of the market. A player that will not only be a good influence in the locker room and the community, but a player that will get the team fired up in practices, on game days and will keep them amped up throughout the duration of contests. That being said, there are a couple of names out there who I believe fit that category, and I even have a couple combo signings/draftees that together could bring that to the team.
Derrick Johnson (MLB; Kansas City Chiefs): A player that I like for the Chargers’ defense is someone who I cannot envision in a different uniform than the one he is currently in and that is Derrick Johnson. Johnson was the catalyst for an elite Chiefs defense and although he was one the shelf for virtually all of the 2014 season, he had a solid bounce back campaign in 2015 with 116 total tackles, two interceptions, two forced fumbles and eight passes defended. Johnson would be an instant impact from the moment he puts the pen to the paper.
He impacts every facet of the game, while possessing undeniable talent. He also plays the run well and can cover running backs out of the backfield. Johnson is entering his 11th year in the NFL. What stands out most is a career 68 passes defended. He is by no means afraid to step up and cover anybody across the middle or creeping outside of the numbers.
Not only would Johnson be a huge help with his leadership on the field, but his locker room presence has the ability to bring everybody together and make them really play for each other like they should be doing. San Diego has the talent and tools on the defensive side of the ball, but they lack the grit and determination to be a truly imposing defense. A Johnson-Te’o-Perryman trio could have the potential to stir up some ruckus on that side of the ball, and when you add that to Ingram and Attaochu rushing, with the possibility of drafting Bosa, the defense would have fun and fans would be thrilled while watching them perform. That’s what Johnson can bring to the table.
He makes everybody better and, in addition to all of this, he knows the Chiefs’ defense and could provide leverage on those key divisional clashes. We couldn’t picture LT in another jersey; same with Peyton, Dwight Freeney, and even McNabb. But it certainly does happen. Let’s see if the Bolts can pry Johnson away from KC.
Tashaun Gipson + Jalen Ramsey: Next up is a signing and draftee duo. They go by the names of Tashaun Gipson and Jalen Ramsey. Gipson has grappled with health issues during his tenure in the NFL, as he’s only played one full season during his four seasons in the league. But when he’s healthy, he is indeed a playmaker and a highly qualified candidate to replace Weddle. He plays fast and can play the run, as well playing in space.
Jalen Ramsey is just about as good as they come. His broad jump, 135.0″ and his vertical leap of 41.5″ were the best at the combine and matched the likes of Patrick Peterson. He could improve on his speed, but I would really like the Chargers to select him with the third pick, and sit back and watch the Bolts groom him into a dominant, energetic force on a soon to be electric defense.
These two would bring a new element to the Chargers’ defense that would be not only highly flexible, but would add to an already up-and-coming unit lead by stud Jason Verrett. I don’t expect Telesco to go safety in the draft if he goes after Gipson, but this combo would be very nice to have. This obviously means Addae would be relegated to the bench again.
That is something I don’t mind as he seems to thrive in that role, and to be completely honest, I don’t trust him as a starter. What he lacks in speed he surely makes up for with power and hitting, but his big plays always seem to get nullified by flags. San Diego would rather prefer conservative tackling’ especially with the way the league is becoming receiver friendly, and that’s something that is not Addae’s forte.
Chris Long: Another signing that would bolster the defense is recently released DE Chris Long. Primarily a 4-3 player in St. Louis, it would be a slight stylistic shift, but I’m sure Long wouldn’t scoff at making that adjustment. He wasn’t cut due to performance issues or battles with injuries, a contractual stalemate between he and the Rams was the reason for his release.
I can see Long coming in on a two-year, $9 million deal and being a more dynamic Jarret Johnson. Johnson was a reliable tackler as well as a great locker room presence. Chris Long could be “the guy” in a system tailored for him, and I believe that system to be John Pagano’s. What’s best about Long is that the Chargers could get him for a bargain. He’s not so much an enforcer or an outlaw, but he’s the next best thing.
Joey Bosa: Lastly, a guy that sticks out more than all the others is Joey Bosa. The Ohio State Buckeye is projected to go top five in a slew of mock drafts, and the Bolts hold the No. 3 pick. With the Browns’ situation at QB, it wouldn’t be too unrealistic to see them go searching for a QB at No. 2, leaving the Chargers either Bosa or Ramsey to choose from.
Either of them make sense and would propel this defense to destructive heights, but Bosa is a freak of nature. His body is NFL ready and he boasts an ultra-competitive attitude. Bosa could not be slowed by the opposition in college even when specifically schemed for, illustrating the level of talent he claims. He was constantly in the backfield whether it be for a sack or a tackle for loss. His firm and strong hands are a huge reason as to why he can be a defensive pillar in the NFL, but Pagano must be willing to move him around.
A player such as JJ Watt cannot be duplicated, but when you are compared to him in any way, you know you’re doing something right. His speed is a rough patch, but there’s always time to get faster. Adding him to this defense will not only take the heat off some of the cornerbacks, but would alleviate pressure off of most everyone on defense. This, in turn, would spawn more wins, less communication errors and, importantly, happier fans.
With Eric Weddle as good as gone via free agency, there is no question the San Diego Chargers must consider searching for his replacement this offseason. That brings us to the draft. There is a certain talent in this year’s pool of NFL hopefuls that could help make the post-Weddle era as smooth as possible: Florida State DB Jalen Ramsey.
Weight: 209 lbs
40 Yard Dash: 4.41 sec
Vert: 41.5 inches*
Broad Jump: 135 inches*
*Best combine result among his position
Athlete. That is the first word you think of when you see this kid’s tape. He will blow you up with a big hit, he will wrap you up for the sure tackle and he will display some of the best cover skills you could ask for from a rook. He has top-notch speed and athleticism, allowing him to make play after play in coverage. One thing that stood out to me was how smart he looked on the field. There are certain plays where you can tell he spends some time in the film room and puts it to use on gameday.
One of few knocks against his game is why he’s being considered as the third player taken in the draft. While he played mostly as a corner in college, many scouts believe he’s better suited as a safety in the pros. He must still work on his hips, as well as showing a little more leadership on the field.
Ramsey is a prime-time athlete who has rangy ability to make plays on any level of the field. He just needs a little bit more of a nasty streak to bring some aggressiveness to a defense that has lacked that trait for some time.
For more on Ramsey:
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.
In a bombshell that was reported by Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune Monday, the San Diego Chargers informed safety and defensive captain Eric Weddle they will not pursue a contract extension with him this season. Weddle had made his displeasure known this offseason by stating he would not show up for voluntary team workouts as his form of protest for not getting a new deal. Penalties do not start accruing until mandatory minicamp beginning June 16.
Unless he decides to dig in and holdout, Weddle is expected to be in camp for all mandatory camp activities. He has expressed his desire to retire a Charger, but did state he feels ‘highly, highly disrespected’ for not getting an extension by now. Always the professional, the three-time Pro Bowler will play like his hair is on fire and leave it all on the field, then enjoy being courted by every team with cap space in the league next offseason.
There’s no doubt that if he’s not the top safety in the league, he is definitely in the top five. Weddle is the fourth-highest paid safety in the league and will collect $7.5 million in this final season of his contract. If you averaged the salaries of the top-ten safeties in the league, it comes out to approximately $8 million per season. Weddle is actually making below the market average, so what don’t we know? Is his camp asking for more? Given what he has meant to this team and the San Diego community, maybe they are. They would be justified to ask.
By not working out an extension now, GM Tom Telesco is making his biggest gamble. When Weddle hits the free agent market, teams will break the bank for his services. He will definitely make more than $8 million a year at the end of the day.
The bottom line is, if Weddle ends up a Charger past this season, it will come at a higher price tag than it would if they were to get a deal done while they have exclusive rights to him. Don’t expect Weddle to give Telesco a hometown discount after all that has transpired to this point.
In the very real possibility that Weddle is not a Charger in 2016, what is the backup plan?
The Chargers have a maturing group of safeties and a couple of contenders playing on their rookie contracts. They just signed Jimmy Wilson to a two-year deal in March. The former Dolphin is expected to push Jahleel Addae for the starting strong safety spot opposite Weddle. The veteran will be entering his fifth season and is coming off his best year as a pro, totaling 59 tackles, two passes defensed and one interception.
Jahleel Addae has done nothing but improve with each passing season. The 2013 undrafted free agent hit the ground running as a special teams standout and situational safety. Last season, he was the starting strong safety in five games, playing in eleven games. Although he missed five contests (two to hamstring, three to concussion), Addae had a better statistical season than his rookie year when he played in all 16 games. Granted, he wasn’t thrown into the defensive rotation until midway through the season, but he’s shown a natural aptitude for the position.
Darrell Stuckey is the undisputed leader of the special teams unit and is coming off his first Pro Bowl selection at the special teams position. Stuckey saw lots of action on defense with the litany of injuries the Chargers suffered in the secondary. He is the eldest safety on the roster after Weddle, entering his sixth season. The rest of the field consists of rookies and pros entering their second season. If they are the backup plan, it is not a good backup plan.
No two of those players equal one Eric Weddle.
Even if you add in the top safety prospect in next year’s draft, Florida State junior Jalen Ramsey, it’s going to take time to cultivate that talent. With a formidable cornerback group anchored by Brandon Flowers and Jason Verrett, the Chargers have a potential top-five secondary if all stay healthy. That’s never been a problem for Weddle, who hasn’t missed a game in five years and only missed four games his entire career. According to Pro Football Focus, Weddle was the best safety in the league and 22nd-ranked player in the league regardless of position.
Yes, he’s 30. Yes, he’s reached that magical number where player performance starts to decline. We know Tom Telesco favors youth over grizzled veterans. That is likely the thinking in taking the wait-and-see approach. However, when you have the best player at his position, you should pay him as such.
We’ve seen what happens when a locker room is too young. Look no further than the Browns, Jets and Bills to see what happens to a team that doesn’t have the veteran infrastructure needed to keep the younger inmates from running the asylum. The Chargers have that veteran infrastructure.
As long as Telesco doesn’t let them all walk away.
The Greg One