The 2018 NFL Draft is just a few weeks away, which means that Draftmas is back. Draftmas will take a look at each NFL team heading into this year’s draft, what their needs are and who they could be targeting. Draftmas continues today with the Los Angeles Chargers 2018 NFL Draft profile.
The Chargers were able to get nine wins but just failed to qualify for the playoffs. With Phillip Rivers being near the end of his career, they will want to compete for a Super Bowl.
Rivers helped lead the team to the most net passing yards in the league last season. He also had the lowest interception percentage in his career at 1.7%. Wide receiver Keenan Allen being healthy for a full season aided Rivers in his good season. The rest of the receiving core is also solid with players like Tyrell Williams, Mike Williams and Travis Benjamin. Hunter Henry is also a threat from his tight end position.
Melvin Gordon not only is a great running back but fits the offense well with his ability to catch out of the backfield. The offensive line was improved with the signing of Mike Pouncey. The offensive tackles need to be improved before next season.
The defense is young and improving year by year. They do give up a lot of rushing yards, second-most in the NFL, and need to improve the interior of their defensive line.
They have a good pass defense, that features good pass rushers and corners. The Chargers ranked third against the pass last season and with the emergence of Joey Bosa, quarterbacks will not have a lot of time to throw. For them to really have an elite defense, they will also need to add some safety help.
Picks and Needs
The Chargers have seven picks in this draft to help them for next season.
First round (1 pick): 17
Second round (1): 48
Third round (1): 84
Fourth round (1): 119
Fifth round (1): 155
Sixth round (1): 191
Seventh round (1): 251
Offensive tackle- Joseph Barksdale needs to be replaced and depth at the position is needed. Rivers needs to be protected in his last few years because if he gets injured, the Chargers’ chances of winning decreases a substantial amount.
Quarterback- Phillip Rivers can’t play forever. Geno Smith was signed, but that is not the long-term answer. Taking a developmental quarterback in this draft needs to happen, even if it isn’t in the first few rounds.
Wide receiver- While the receivers are solid, someone needs to step up next to Keenan Allen. If Mike Williams can’t another receiver will be needed. This isn’t a huge need because they do have some talent and Williams should be able to step up this season if healthy.
Defensive tackle- The Chargers couldn’t stop the run last year and selecting a defensive tackle or nose tackle would help drastically. A good interior defensive linemen would also take some of the focus off of Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram.
Safety- There aren’t many weak points on the defense, but improving the safety position could help make this unit elite. They haven’t had great safety play since Eric Weddle was on the roster.
Pick No. 17: Derwin James, S, Florida State
James is very athletic but didn’t really play a set position at Florida State. He was much like Jabrill Peppers in that regard but can be a productive safety in the NFL. With teams trading up for quarterbacks and others classifying Minkah Fitzpatrick as a safety, James could fall to the Chargers and fill a big need.
Pick No. 48: B.J. Hill, DT, N.C. State
Hill is a little overshadowed by playing on the same defensive line as Bradley Chubb, but he is a great player in his own right. He is good against the run and can take on multiple blockers. At N.C. State, he played a lot over his four seasons. Hill also impressed scouts at the Senior Bowl and would fit a need on the defensive line.
Pick No. 84: Martinas Rankin, OT, Mississippi State
The way the current offense is constructed, Rankin would present great value. He is one of the best pass blocking tackles in the class and can help extend Rivers’ career by protecting him. Rankin can start off at right tackle and eventually move over to left tackle when Russel Okung ages too much.