One of the most important weeks of the draft evaluation process is underway as the top seniors in the country have converged on Mobile, Alabama for the 2020 Senior Bowl.
How valuable are these next several days to NFL teams like the Chargers?
Since 2017, Los Angeles has signed or drafted 12 key contributors who have participated in Senior Bowl Week:
S Nasir Adderley, Delaware – The 22-year-old safety from Delaware was the Chargers' second-round pick in 2019 (No. 60 overall).
K Michael Badgley, Miami – In 18 games with the Chargers, Badgley has made 28 out of 32 field goals attempted, and 46-of-47 extra points.
G Dan Feeney, Indiana – The third-year guard has started 41 games for Los Angeles. Feeney didn't miss an offensive snap during the 2018 season. He was a third-round draft pick in 2017 (No. 71 overall).
S Rayshawn Jenkins, Miami – A fourth-round selection in 2017 (No. 113 overall), Jenkins started every game at free safety for the Chargers in 2019.
DT Justin Jones, NC State – The second-year defensive tackle from NC State has appeared in 27 games, including 12 starts in 2019. Jones was a third-round draft pick in 2018 (No. 84 overall).
In recent years the Bolts have found a wealth of talent in the pre-draft process at the annual Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama. Take a look at some current Chargers then and now.
DB Desmond King, Iowa – A fifth-round pick in 2017 (No. 151 overall), King has played in 47 games, including 20 starts. In 2018, he earned First-Team All-Pro honors. King has a pair of pick-sixes and a pair of punt returns for touchdowns in his early career.
LS Cole Mazza, Alabama – Mazza appeared in all 16 games during the 2019 season as the team's long snapper.
LB Uchenna Nwosu, USC – Nwosu was the Chargers' 2019 nominee for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award. A second-round pick in 2018 (No. 48 overall), Nwosu has appeared in 32 games, notching 55 tackles and 5.5 sacks.
C Scott Quessenberry, UCLA – A fifth-round pick in 2018 (no. 155 overall), Quessenberry started the final nine games of the 2019 season for injured Pro Bowl center Mike Pouncey.
DE Isaac Rochell, Notre Dame – Rochell has seven career sacks in 35 games played. He was a seventh-round pick in 2017 (No. 225 overall).
LB Drue Tranquill, Notre Dame – A fourth-round selection in 2019 (No. 130 overall), Tranquill became an immediate contributor on special teams for the Chargers, earning a spot on PFWA's All-Rookie Team. He also started three games in 2019, and finished the season with 64 tackles.
LB Kyzir White, West Virginia – White is another fourth-round selection at the linebacker position (No. 119 overall in 2018). He earned a starting role to begin his rookie season before suffering a knee injury. White has 57 career tackles and a pair of interceptions in two seasons in Los Angeles.
Five Players to Watch
The Athletic's Dane Brugler joined "Chargers Weekly" to share insight on some of the top prospects this week in Mobile. Here are five of several players discussed in this 15-minute preview:
QB Justin Herbert, Oregon – Herbert capped his four-year college career with a 28-27 win over Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl. He leaves Oregon second to only Marcus Mariota in passing yards (10,541) and touchdowns (95). Herbert headlines the South Team in Mobile.
Brugler's take: "I think each one of his game tapes, when you study it, shows an example of NFL-level throws and several just 'wow' plays."
QB Jordan Love, Utah State – In three years at Utah State, Love finished his college career with 8,600 passing yards, 60 touchdowns and 29 interceptions. He will play for the North in the Senior Bowl.
Brugler's take: "The Senior Bowl's gonna be a great opportunity for him to show that, 'Hey, I am still this extremely talented guy. Yes, I might be raw in a few areas, but this is why I still belong in the first round.'"
DT Javon Kinlaw, South Carolina – An AP First-Team All-American in 2019, Kinlaw leaves South Carolina with 82 tackles (17 for loss) and 10 sacks. He's looked at by many as a first-round selection. Kinlaw will play for the South Team.
Brugler's take: "This guy is freaky. He's big, he's athletic. He makes hustle plays, and it's going to be interesting to see one-on-one opportunities, because at South Carolina he played a lot of nose tackle, and so he saw double-teams and wasn't allowed to just kind of let loose."
WR Brandon Aiyuk, Arizona State – Aiyuk's senior season as a Sun Devil was special. His 65 catches for 1,192 yards and eight touchdowns earned him AP Third-Team All-American honors as an all-purpose player. Aiyuk will play for the South team.
WR Michael Pittman, USC – Pittman caught 101 passes (fourth in the nation) for 1,275 yards and 11 touchdowns in his final season as a Trojan. He was named an AP Second-Team All-American and will play for the North team in Mobile.
Brugler's take: "It starts with Brandon Aiyuk, the Arizona State speedster. What he can do after the catch, [I'm] really eager to see him against some of these corners one-on-one in this game. Michael Pittman from USC – 6'4'', very physical at the catch point. I love what he can offer down the field as a possession target."
How to Watch the 71st Annual Senior Bowl
Saturday, January 25, 2020 from Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Alabama
Coverage begins at 12:30 p.m. PT on NFL Network
Play-by-play: Andrew Siciliano
Analyst: Daniel Jeremiah and Charles Davis
Field/Sideline: Bucky Brooks and Tom Pelissero