Best & Worst Of Los Angeles Chargers Draft Class

Photo: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Chargers bowed out of the divisional round of the playoffs in a loss to the New England Patriots, and during the game the Chargers defense struggled to get off the field. With that loss fresh in the minds of the front office, the Chargers targeted obvious needs during the NFL Draft. With three of their first four picks, the Chargers took a prospect at each level of their defense. The franchise isn't far off from a Super Bowl berth, and hitting on their early picks could be the key factor to getting them over the hump.

Philip Rivers is now 37 years old, but he hasn't shown signs of slowing down and hasn’t missed a game in 13 years. Continuing to keep Rivers upright and healthy will be paramount to the Chargers success in the short-term.

Round 1, Pick 28: Jerry Tillery, IDL, Notre Dame

Round 2, Pick 60: Nasir Adderley, Safety, Delaware

Round 3, Pick 91: Trey Pipkins, OT, Sioux Falls

Round 4, Pick 130: Drue Tranquill, LB, Notre Dame

Round 5, Pick 166: Easton Stick, QB, North Dakota State

Round 6, Pick 200: Emeke Egbule, LB, Houston

Round 7, Pick 242: Cortez Broughton, IDL, Cincinnati

As a Patriots fan, I was heartbroken to see Jerry Tillery taken just a few picks before New England was on the clock. That should tell you everything you need to know about how I feel regarding the Chargers first-round pick. With their outside pass rush already one of the best in the league, Tillery providing extra pressure on the interior will difficult for an opposing offensive line to handle. Not every player can get double-teamed, and Tillery’s leverage and lower body strength allows him to really penetrate against solo blocks.

The Chargers hit the jackpot in 2018 by selecting safety Derwin James, and second-round pick Nasir Adderley is the perfect fit alongside of him. For James' versatility to be best utilized, Los Angeles needed a safety with center fielder range on the backend. Adderley was one of the few in the entire class with that skill set, which was why some expected him to be taken in the first round.

Through two rounds, the Chargers got players who fit their needs and could contribute right away. Finding immediate production from those newcomers could be the difference in 2019-20.

Late in the NFL Draft, the Chargers selected two defensive prospects with upside in Emeke Egbule and Cortez Broughton (a personal favorite of Benjamin Solak). Egbule could become a positive contributor as a sub package linebacker with fluidity and ability in space, something the Chargers lacked in that playoff matchup with New England. Broughton should’ve been selected earlier than the 7th round due to his explosiveness and flashes as a pass rusher. The  Cincinnati coaching staff has raved about Broughton from a character perspective.

Best Pick: Jerry Tillery, IDL, Notre Dame

Jerry Tillery’s evaluation was easy for me, and he ended up with a first-round grade. He plays with excellent leverage, consistently working his hands inside and underneath the offensive lineman. He provides interior pressure, can split doubles when necessary and has an excellent motor. The thought of pressure packages with Tillery, Joey Bosa, Melvin Ingram and Uchenna Nwosu should get Chargers fans hot and bothered.

Worst Pick: Trey Pipkins, OT, Sioux Falls

The Chargers right tackle situation has been the topic of discussion due to the ...interesting… start of Forrest Lamp’s career. It was expected that Los Angeles could target an offensive tackle in this range, and they obviously thought Pipkins was the top one available, but I thought prospects such as Yodny Cajuste, Bobby Evans and Chuma Edoga were all clearly superior to Pipkins. Time will obviously tell, but the general feeling is that Pipkins was a reach

Favorite Day 3 Pick: Drue Tranquill, LB, Notre Dame

Tranquill was one of my favorite prospects in the entire NFL Draft, as the Notre Dame graduate has an infectious personality. The former safety tested well at the NFL Scouting Combine, and can be a versatile coverage chess piece and special teamer with starter-level upside. He was easily a Top-100 player in the class for me, and Los Angeles landed him at pick 130.

Overall Grade: B+

This class feels like a win for the Los Angeles Chargers. Their defense was already strong but was a bit exposed at times last season, and they took steps to eradicate those minor holes. The mix of short-term and long-term upside from the class should keep the middle of the Chargers roster strong for years to come. While I wouldn't say that the Chargers were the biggest winners of the weekend, this is a class that improves their season outlook.