While the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine has come to a close, we're now in that in-between period of closing the book on the 2018 season and gearing up for the new league year, which is just a little over a week away.
So, who better to ask his thoughts on the Chargers than the voice of the team and NFL Network's own, Matt "Money" Smith?
Having covered and traveled with this team for two-straight years, Smith has a keen knowledge of the Bolts – especially when it comes to what position he thinks they should target in the draft and how that plays with General Manager Tom Telesco's approach.
"They certainly have some needs that are regularly pointed out by many who cover the sport (like) defensive line, offensive line, linebacker and a true free safety," Smith said. "The Chargers have shown they are in the business of picking the best player available regardless of position. Considering the talent in this group is particularly deep on the defensive side of the ball, I'm guessing we'll see that addressed right away."
So, who stood out to Smith as someone the Bolts could potentially draft with the 28th-overall selection? None other than a former teammate of Isaac Rochell.
"I thought DT Jerry Tillery, who was attached to them in a lot of mock drafts, had a solid afternoon," he mentioned. "(He) looked very good stacked against the rest of the talent in his group."
But before we get to the draft, we have to start with free agency as the period begins March 13 at 1:00pm PT. Smith admitted some of those areas the team could target in the draft could also be shored up beginning next week given the amount of talent available at those positions.
"There's some depth in the linebacker class (with) Jordan Hicks, K.J. Wright, and C.J. Mosley, as well in the secondary with Earl Thomas and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. Save the deal for Russell Okung, Tom Telesco doesn't throw around a giant pile of money on big name players from other teams, preferring instead to take care of his own guys who are up."
In his two years with the team, Smith has seen the squad go from 9-7 to 12-4. From missing out on the playoffs to making it to the Divisional Round. As pundits at the Combine admitted, this Chargers team is one to like for the 2019 season, and only a few minor tweaks should help them soar to new heights.. Smith agrees.
"I think you have to consider spending some money in free agency. With good players out there at LB and safety, plug a couple guys in, and draft for depth, not starters. You can get away with bringing back Darius Philon and Damion Square at DT, the ascension of Justin Jones will help, too. Plus that's a position in free agency that costs a whole lot of money. I would spend to build up at LB, and first and foremost, sign someone that is a natural playing up high, leaving Derwin James to wreak havoc in the box and all over the field."
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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