Round One: Pick 25: Jason Verrett, CB, TCU:
I have adored Verrett’s play and fit into the Chargers scheme since the beginning of the draft. A phenomenal off-ball, man corner, Verrett played in a scheme quite similar to that of the Chargers and excelled at it. Take away his height disadvantage, which never hurt him in college, and you see a very smart, technically sound player who can cover most wide receivers. My main issue is that Verrett never showed that he could play in zone coverage, and with the Chargers running zone a third of the time on defense, he might struggle in that aspect of scheme fit. But overall, absolutely adore this pick on a prospect I’ve been lauding since the end of the college football season.
Round Two: Pick 18: Jeremiah Attaochu, OLB, Georgia Tech:
This is the big head scratchers that Telesco made on the second day of the draft. Yes, pass-rushing linebacker was a need for the defense, but Attaochu, who I believe would’ve been either available with the 25th pick in the second round or third, was bit of a reach to give up so much to acquire (a second and a fourth). Let’s get to Attaochu’s film. He’s got a phenomenal first step off the line and is blisteringly fast. His main asset is his speed where he blows by much slower linebackers and shoots straight towards the quarterback. His main job is going to be a pass-rushing linebacker; nothing more is going to be expected of Attaochu in the beginning. He’s not that skilled in coverage, nor does he supply support in the run game, so for a linebacker with exactly one purpose, I question if this pick was bit of a reach.
Round Three: Pick 25: Chris Watt, OG, Notre Dame:
This is obviously a move to combat the fact that the Chargers were much more adept at rushing outside the tackles than rushing up the middle. Chris Watt is a run-blocking guard who is better than he appears on his measurements. An extremely intelligent player (you can see this on his adjustments to the linebackers, Zack Martin benefited from this) with very good form off the line, Watt was a bit underrated coming into the draft. He wasn’t as loved by most scouts because he wasn’t as powerful or fast as the other guards in the draft, yet he’s shown he is proficient in most things. He plays low to the ground and has flexible hips, so he won’t have much problems getting driven back too much. If he works on his pass-blocking abilities, I believe that Watt will be one of the best value picks in a few years.
Round Five: Pick 25: Ryan Carrethers, NT, Arkansas State:
The reason that Carrethers fell this far in the draft was that he’s not that athletic. But turn on the tape and you see the type of nose tackle that the Chargers have needed in their defense for quite some time. The Chargers nose tackle issues came to the front against the run, and that is Carrethers’ strong suit. Very good at two-gapping the offensive line, he’s a powerful nose tackle that can stand up the center and drive him back. He’s got a very low center of gravity, which gives him leverage when driving opposing linemen. He’s going to need work in the pass-rushing game, but with Ingram, Freeney, and the addition of Attaochu, he can work on that in time. Carrethers is a great fit for the 3-4 NT of the Chargers.