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Chargers' 2018 Draft Grades: What the Experts Have to Say

It takes years to accurately grade a draft class.

Still, that doesn't stop top pundits from weighing in as soon as the final pick is announced.

Fans are obviously eager to see what draft experts have to say about their team's selections…and it's good news if you are a fan of the Los Angeles Chargers.

After all, the general consensus is that the Bolts were one of the big winners of the 2018 NFL Draft.

Here is a sampling of what the pundits had to say:

ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr.:

Draft grade: B+

It was a quiet offseason for the Chargers, but they have a lot of talent on the roster. This is a team that could win the AFC West in 2018. L.A. got very little out of its 2017 rookie class, mostly due to injuries -- watch out for Mike Williams and Forrest Lamp in 2018. Now they have some possible gems in the 2018 class, too. Derwin James was the steal of Round 1 at 17 -- plug him in at one of the safety spots on Day 1. He's a bigger defender who's not afraid to hit and wrap up -- the Chargers gave up a league-worst 4.9 yards per rush last season and tackled terribly on the second level -- and he has the athleticism and range to cover the deep middle of the field.

Uchenna Nwosu (pick 48) is one of the best pure 3-4 edge rushers in this class. He's going to be good in a situational role with Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram already on the roster. That wasn't a need position, but I like that the Chargers went with the best player on the board. Justin Jones at 84 was a reach for me -- I thought he was more of a fifth or sixth-round pick -- but there weren't many nose tackles left, and the Chargers had to get one. I like safety Kyzir White (119) and receiver Dylan Cantrell (191) on Day 3. White, the younger brother of Bears' wideout Kevin White, is a physical player.

GM Tom Telesco could have a few steals on his hands here.

ESPN's Todd McShay:

Best Value: Derwin James

Gus Bradley's defense needs a long, playmaking safety -- a guy who can come up and fill one side in run support and essentially is another linebacker. As one of the most versatile prospects I've ever evaluated, James fits that bill. I thought he could go as high as No. 7 to Tampa Bay, so getting my seventh-ranked player at 17 is tremendous value. Los Angeles college scouting director Kevin Kelly is underrated and has done a great job for several years helping in the draft for this team.

Sports Illustrated's Andy Benoit:

Draft grade: B+

Los Angeles had a hole at free safety with Tre Boston not re-signed, and Derwin James, whom some have compared to Sean Taylor, is a great way to fill it. The question is whether James will be strictly a centerfielder in Gus Bradley's defense, or if he'll take over some of the box-safety responsibilities that hard-hitting Jahleel Addae has quietly handled with ease. That answer may ultimately come down to what is best for the Chargers' run defense, which needed repair. Last season their nickel run D struggled to the point that edge stars Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram had to take a more conservative pass-rushing approach, diminishing the defense's greatest strength. GM Tom Telesco aimed to correct this with the second-round selection of linebacker Uchenna Nwosu and third-round pick of defensive tackle Justin Jones, who is here to replace an aging Brandon Mebane after this season. The only surprise in this draft came in the fourth round, when the Chargers went safety again, picking Kyzir White. With Addae and a lanky, overachieving backup like Adrian Phillips, that was not a position of need.'s Chad Reuter:

Draft grade: B

The Chargers let the draft come to them in the first round, and they got a great player at a need position. Doesn't get much better than that for a mid-first-round selection. James is fluid, tough, and fast. I don't understand why he was still available at 17. The team was looking to improve its linebacker situation, and it deemed Nwosu the best option available in the middle of the second round. Will Texas' Malik Jefferson or Georgia's Lorenzo Carter -- who were both still on the board -- prove to be better players? Time will tell. They found their nose tackle in the third round, picking Jones. This might have been a little early for him, but we'll see if he can put it all together to be more than a rotational player. White is a physical player with ball skills. Even after signing Mike Pouncey, the Chargers picked Quessenberry, a sturdy pivot who will start in the future. They did not find any depth at guard or tackle, though, nor a quarterback to compete with Geno Smith and Cardale Jones for a backup spot.

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.

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