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Mock Draft Tracker 2.0: Super Bowl Edition
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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.
With the Super Bowl in the books, it’s time to take the latest look at who top pundits and expert predict the Bolts to select in the first round of the draft on Apr. 26.
NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah: S Derwin James – Florida State
What he says: “James was made to play in Gus Bradley's defense. He's a more explosive version of Kam Chancellor....Possesses the desired physical traits and mental makeup of an All-Pro safety who has the ability to not only set a tone but change the course of games. Although James is extremely athletic and talented, he still has room for improvement as a run defender and in coverage. James' talent is best utilized in an active, attacking capacity in a robber role or near the line of scrimmage where he can support the run, blitz and handle physical coverage responsibilities.”
NFL.com’s Bucky Brooks: DT Vita Vea – Washington State
What he says: “Big, athletic run-stopper to plug as a nose or 3-technique in Gus Bradley's defense… Vea's tape can be frustrating because he flashes star potential one series and then looks average the next. With that said, he's still very raw and should be judged by his ability rather than just his results as he should unlock his potential with more coaching. Vea has the size and power to play nose in an odd or even front and he could be targeted by 3-4 teams looking for a dominant run defender on the end. He should work into a defensive line rotation immediately and has the ability to become a good NFL starter for years.”
NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein: DT Da’Ron Payne – Alabama
What he says: “Payne can overwhelm rushing attacks. He has the talent to become a much better pass rusher, as well. Can you imagine that defensive front, with Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram already in the fold?!... Payne possesses one of the most impressive combinations of strength and athleticism that we've seen from an interior lineman. He will be the premier run-stuffer in this draft, but he may have enough in the pass rushing toolbox to project as a better pro than college pass rusher. Payne is a game-ready starter who immediately upgrades a defense's ability to slow the run. If teams view him as just a run-down player, then his draft value could fall a little, but he could become a Pro Bowl defender early in his career.”
CBSSports.com’s Chris Trapasso: DT Da’Ron Payne – Alabama
What he says: “The Chargers boast the best edge-rushing duo in the AFC -- and possibly in all of football -- with Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram. Payne would be an excellent addition to what would become a ridiculous defensive front in Los Angeles.”
CBSSports.com’s R.J. White: DT Vita Vea – Washington
What he says: “The Chargers need to do something to fix their run defense, and Vea is a massive presence in the middle who can get penetration into the backfield.”
SBNation’s Draft Editor Dan Kader: DT Harrison Phillips – Stanford
What he says: “With the futures of Corey Liuget and Brandon Mebane potentially up in the air, the Chargers could look to add a run stopper this offseason. Phillips was incredibly productive at Stanford and should be able to line up at a couple different spots on the interior of the defensive line.”
Bleacher Report Lead Draft Writer Matt Miller: S Derwin James – Florida State
What he says: “When late April gets here, it won't be a surprise if FSU's Derwin James is a top-10 pick. In this mock draft, he slides down the board because of the run on quarterbacks in the top 10 and needs of teams, but finds himself in an ideal situation with the Los Angeles Chargers. What safety wouldn't want to play with Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram frustrating quarterbacks in front of him? James is an athletic freak and exactly the kind of versatile safety teams are starting to fall in love with. He's similar in many ways to Keanu Neal, but faster and more explosive attacking the ball. And while his 2017 got off to a slow start while he was coming back from injury, James finished the year with a dominant streak of games and showed that he's still a top-tier safety prospect. The Chargers have an All-Pro cornerback in Casey Hayward and studs rushing the quarterback. Now the front office needs to deliver Defensive Coordinator Gus Bradley his Kam Chancellor. James can be that.”
Sporting News’ Eric Galko: DT Maurice Hurst – Michigan
What he says: “The Chargers have done an under-appreciated job in the draft in recent years, and their roster (when healthy) is loaded with talent. Depth on their defensive line is the missing piece, along with more offensive line help.”
WalterFootball’s Walter Cherepinsky: DT Vita Vea – Washington
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 selection. Vita Vea is a freak athlete, as few man can do what he's able to at his size. He could easily be chosen in the top 15, so this is a solid value pick.”
Athlon Sport’s Bryan Fischer: OT Orlando Brown – Oklahoma
What he says: “The team still has to address what happens after Philip Rivers retires at quarterback but as their second half surge showed, this is still a team capable of competing to win right now. Brown could be plugged in at right tackle to boost a decent unit, helping set the edge for Melvin Gordon while also keeping Rivers more upright.”
NFLDraftScout’s Dane Brugler: S Derwin James – Florida State
What he says: “Picking a safety this high in the draft would buck the trend of what the Chargers usually do in the first round, but James has the athletic profile and NFL ceiling that should force the front office to think outside the box.”
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.