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Mock Draft Tracker 1.0
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In order to serve all Chargers fans, Chargers.com has compiled a list of who some top draft pundits are projecting the Bolts will select with the 17th pick in the draft.
It is still very early in the process as we are three months away from the NFL Draft kicking off in Dallas. Nonetheless, with the Senior Bowl taking place next week, more and more experts are putting out their initial projections. Thus, now is as good a time as ever to post the first of many Mock Draft Trackers leading up to the first round of the draft on Apr. 26.
ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr.: DT Da’Ron Payne – Alabama
What he says: “The best nose tackle in this class is Payne, who was a monster in the College Football Playoff, even if he didn't always show up on the stat sheet. Georgia couldn't block him in the national title game. The Chargers are set with good, young pass-rushers, but they could upgrade on Brandon Mebane, who's signed for only another year. Payne would strengthen the belly of a defense that ranked last in the league in rushing yards per attempt allowed (4.9).”
ESPN’s Todd McShay: QB Baker Mayfield – Oklahoma
What he says: “Orlando Brown is an option at offensive tackle here, but this is a good time for the Chargers to take a successor to 36-year-old Philip Rivers. Los Angeles passed on Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson last draft, but Mayfield is too intriguing to pass on here. Perhaps no prospect has improved his stock more in 2017 than Mayfield, who was my ninth-ranked QB coming into the season, with a midround grade. The Heisman winner is an exceptional leader and could play himself into the first round.”
NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah: S Derwin James – Florida St.
What he says: “James was made to play in Gus Bradley's defenses. He's a more explosive version of Kam Chancellor.”
CBSSports.com’s Chris Trapasso: DT Vita Vea – Washington
What he says: “With Joey Bosa, Melvin Ingram, and Vea, the Chargers would have the makings of the best defensive line in the NFL. Vea has the size and strength of a massive nose tackle and the athleticism of someone much smaller.”
CBSSports.com’s R.J. White: DT Vita Vea – Washington
What he says: “The Chargers have a pair of beasts on the edge to rush the passer, but too many times this year they were done in by the run, giving up a league-worst 4.9 yards per carry as six opponents topped 150 rushing yards against them this season. Vea, a massive presence in the middle of a defensive line, will go a long way toward fixing that deficiency, while also providing enough quickness to penetrate into the backfield on some third downs.”
Pro Football Focus’ Steve Palazzolo: OT Orlando Brown - Oklahoma
What he says: “The Chargers’ offensive line rebuild took a step in the right direction last season, but there’s still more work to do. Brown brings a physical run-blocker and capable pass-protector to Los Angeles. He finished ninth overall among the nation’s tackles at 87.9, and his 88.1 run-blocking grade ranked fourth.”
SBNation’s Draft Editor Dan Kadar: QB Lamar Jackson – Louisville
What he says: “Philip Rivers’ career is winding down, so Los Angeles could be looking for its quarterback of the future in this draft. Jackson is loaded with tools but may need some time to adapt to the NFL. Going to Los Angeles would be a perfect fit.”
Bleacher Report Lead Draft Writer Matt Miller: OT Orlando Brown – Oklahoma
What he says: “This is a pick where I'm going far away from my own rankings to match what I'm hearing from NFL sources. Oklahoma tackle Orlando Brown is ranked in the mid-second round on my big board, but it would be a surprise, as of now, if he's not selected on the first night. The Los Angeles Chargers did a great job in the 2017 draft by going after guards Forrest Lamp (Round 2) and Dan Feeney (Round 3), but the job of rebuilding this line is far from done. The age and talent at offensive tackle isn't ideal, and the team should be focused on throwing assets at the line in an effort to extend Philip Rivers' career and to give Melvin Gordon what he deserves. Brown is a massive man at 6'8", 340 pounds but has issues in his technique—like a narrow stance and poor leverage—that concern me. If the Chargers can coach him up, he could be a steal here.”
Rotoworld’s Josh Norris: OT Orlando Brown – Oklahoma
What he says: “Brown is a mammoth. The Chargers have one of the better defenses in the NFL on paper and need help at right tackle.”
WalterFootball’s Walter Cherepinsky: DT Da’Ron Payne – Alabama
What he says: “The Chargers have a great defense, but their one area of weakness is in the interior of the defensive line. Corey Liuget is a talented interior pass-rusher, but the Chargers lack a monstrous run-stuffing presence. That would change with this pick. Da'Ron Payne, a freak athlete, has a chance to be chose in the top 10 - I considered him to Oakland at No. 10 recently - so he's a great value pick at No. 17.”
USA Today’s Luke Easterling: OT Orlando Brown – Oklahoma
What he says: “If the Bolts want Philip Rivers to stick around for a few more years and play at a high level, they’ll need to keep him healthy. Last year’s draft netted some stellar interior blockers, but they still need a franchise tackle like Brown, who is a massive mountain of a man.”
The opinions, analysis and/or speculation expressed above represent those of individual authors and do not represent the opinions or policies of the Chargers' organization, front office staff, coaches and executives. Read