The 2019 NFL Draft is coming up, which means that The Game Haus will be doing draft profiles for every team. Each NFL team will be looked at heading into this year’s draft including what their needs are and who they could be targeting. The Los Angeles Chargers will be the 25th team evaluated.
The Chargers finished last season with a 12-4 record, but only finished second in their division. They earned a wild-card berth as the no. 5 seed in the AFC. Los Angeles beat Baltimore in the first round but lost to the New England Patriots in the Divisional Round.
The Chargers had a good offense last season, tied for sixth in the league with 26.8 points per game. They had a top ten passing offense, but were just middle of the pack in rushing offense, ranking fifteenth. The rushing game was very good with Melvin Gordon, who had 5.1 yards per carry, but suffered in the four games he missed. Philip Rivers had a good season at quarterback and made the Pro-Bowl with 4300 yards, 32 touchdowns and just 12 interceptions. This offense should continue to be productive next year as they have a lot of talent including Rivers, Gordon, Keenan Allen, and Mike Williams. Rivers is getting up there in age, so while they added a solid backup in Tyrod Taylor, LA might want to draft a quarterback for the future. As far as the receiving corps goes, they lost Tyrell Williams, who was a reliable deep threat, but get Hunter Henry back at full health. Henry tore his ACL last offseason and came back for the playoffs, but was very limited.
The Los Angeles Chargers had the number eight defense in the NFL, making the team well-rounded. They allowed just 20.6 points per game and were top ten in terms of yards allowed as well. The front seven was very good after Joey Bosa’s return from injury, especially defensive ends Bosa and Melvin Ingram. Bosa finished the season with 5.5 sacks in just seven games. Ingram had seven sacks in the regular season, but dominated with two sacks, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery in two playoff games.
Many of their defensive tackles were free agents; while they did retain Brandon Mebane, they did not re-sign either Corey Liuget, Damion Square or Darius Philon. The Chargers signed Thomas Davis to their linebacking corps and also retained Denzel Perryman. That was the weakest part of their defense last season. The secondary is has potential to the best in football in the coming years. Casey Hayward and Desmond King make up a good, young cornerback duo. The safeties are even better with Derwin James, who was All-Pro as a rookie and Adrian Phillips.
2019 NFL Draft Picks
The Chargers have seven draft picks this year to continue building their team.
First round (one pick): No. 28
Second round (one pick): No. 60
Third round (one pick): No. 91
Fourth round (one pick): No. 130
Fifth round (one pick): No. 166
Sixth round (one pick): No. 200
Seventh round (one pick): No. 242
Defensive Tackle- Los Angeles has a huge need at defensive tackle. Right now, their only entrenched starter is Mebane, who is almost 35 years old.
Quarterback- Philip Rivers is 37 years old and entering his 15th season in the league. LA should start looking for his replacement.
Linebacker- This is a big need. Thomas Davis is a stopgap and Perryman has had injury issues in the past.
Offensive Guard-Their offensive guards were good at opening holes in the run game, but struggled in pass protection.
2019 NFL Draft Targets
Pick No. 28: Dexter Lawrence, Defensive Tackle, Clemson
Adding Dexter Lawrence would be a good move both for the present and the future. He could be the second defensive tackle this season next to Brandon Mebane, which is a desperate need for LA. Eventually, Lawrence could become a force on the interior if he develops like he is projected to. The former Clemson Tiger has a terrific combination of size, strength and quickness. He is a dominant run stopper and needs to improve pass rushing technique but has the necessary athleticism.
Pick No. 60: Will Grier, Quarterback, West Virginia
If Grier falls to number 60, that would be a great pick for the future. However, even if they need to trade up some spots to get him, Los Angeles should consider doing so. Grier is actually similar to Rivers in both his leadership style and the way he attacks downfield. He needs to improve his mid-level throws and get better at taking care of the football, but has a good deep ball. Grier could turn into a good quarterback by learning from Rivers.
Pick No. 91: Beau Benzschawel, Offensive Guard, Wisconsin
Benzschawel is a good pass blocker, which is what the Chargers need. Offensive linemen sometimes take time to develop, but at a third round pick, he would be a smart choice. While this doesn’t make him a sure thing, Wisconsin linemen typically are able to translate well to the NFL.
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