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Ten Potential Draft Targets to Watch at the Combine

General Manager Tom Telesco must be great at poker because the Bolts never tip their hand on prospects they are interested in.  The true story of how the Chargers shocked the NFL by their secret coveting of Joey Bosa is all the proof you need.

However, plenty of pundits nonetheless have weighed in on whom they believe the Chargers may select.

With that in mind, here are 10 players to keep an eye on at this year's Combine who experts believe may be targets for the Bolts with the 17th overall pick.

1. OT Orlando Brown– Teams looking for beef in the trenches will likely eye the anchor of Oklahoma's offensive line.  After all, they don't get much bigger than the massive 6-8, 360-pound tackle who is the son of the former NFL star by the same name.  Brown was named a first-team AP All-American and All-Big 12 pick after protecting Baker Mayfield's blind side in 2017.  

2. LB Rashaan Evans– After waiting patiently behind Reuben Foster, a first-round pick a year ago, Evans broke out when given the opportunity. A second team All-SEC pick, Evans was an impact player on Alabama, helping lead them to a national title.  He led the team with 13 tackles for loss while tying for the team lead with 74 tackles.  Evans also chipped in with six sacks and three passes defensed.   The 6-3, 234-pound linebacker boasts sideline-to-sideline speed, and seems primed to make a name for himself on the field at Lucas Oil Stadium.

3. DT Maurice Hurst –The junior out of Michigan is known for his quick burst off the snap, which is a coveted trait for three-technique defensive tackles.  He makes a living in the offensive backfield as he pierces through offensive linemen with an assortment of moves.  Hurst is fresh off a season which he tallied 34 tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks as a junior.  He aims to make a name for himself in a crowded pool of top tier DT prospects.

4. S Derwin James – One of the more popular picks to be selected by the Bolts, James is often compared to the Seattle Seahawks' Kam Chancellor.  Given Chancellor's success in Gus Bradley's system, it's easy to see why many believe he'll end up in L.A. James owns rare size for the position at 6-3, 215 pounds. A hard hitter with impressive range, he can play either safety spot.  James was named a second-team AP All-American last year at Florida State, amassing 74 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, 11 passes defensed and two picks.

5. QB Baker Mayfield –If the Bolts do opt for a quarterback, the one most pundits think they'd go for is Baker Mayfield.  However, the chance to grab him 17th overall seems slim to none as he's skyrocketed up draft boards in recent months.  In fact, the Oklahoma QB is often off the board by the sixth pick in the majority of mock drafts.  An fiery leader, Mayfield boasts impressive athleticism and an accurate arm. He won last year's Heisman Trophy after completing 285-of-404 attempts (70.5 percent) for 4,627 yards with 43 touchdowns and only six interceptions.  He also added 311 rushing yards with five TDs on the ground.

6. OT Mike McGlinchey –One of two Notre Dame linemen projected to be selected in the first round,  McGlinchey is a 6-8, 312-pound tackle who has outstanding athleticism for the position.  He started at both tackle spots over his career in South Bend, and is regarded as one of the top technicians at tackle.  McGlinchey is regarded as a strong leader, and was named a team captain in back to back years to end his tenure as a Golden Domer.

7. DT Da'Ron Payne –Another popular pick to be drafted by the Chargers, the 6-2, 308-pound Payne is seen as the perfect fit for any team looking to improve their run defense.  That obviously fits the Bolts, who struggled in that department a year ago.  Payne was a force to be reckoned with in 2017 at Alabama, earning second-team All-SEC honors.  He totaled 53 tackles, but his contributions went well beyond the stat sheet. Blessed with rarely seen athleticism and strength for a defensive tackle, many project Payne to make an immediate impact in the NFL.

8. LB Roquan Smith –While Smith is universally regarded as a top 10 pick, that hasn't stopped pundits from saying he'd be a perfect fit in L.A.'s defense.  The Georgia star boasts rare speed and athleticism for the position, which is why he is expected to be one of the big winners in Indy. Smith is also a tackling machine who appears to be just scratching the surface of his potential.  Strong in coverage, he is a true three-down linebacker, which is becoming increasingly rare to find.

9. DT Vita Vea –If you were to create an ideal defensive tackle, odds are he'd look like Vea.  The Washington product is a 6-4, 344-pound specimen who uses every bit of his fame to his advantage.  Perhaps more important, his production in college was equally up to par.  Vea totaled 65 tackles with 15 tackles for loss, 9.5 sacks, five passes batted down and two forced fumbles in 38 career games.   

10. OT Connor Williams –Williams has impressed from the moment he walked onto Texas' campus.  A freshman All-American pick, he honed his craft each year with the Longhorns to the point he is a consensus first rounder in this year's draft.  The 6-6, 320-pound Williams is another tackle praised for his technique and leadership qualities.   Some think he may kick inside to guard at the next level, but no matter where he ends up, he's projected to be an impact player early in his career.

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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