Grading the Draft: Los Angeles Chargers

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Chris Tripodi

Draft Analyst Writer

The Chargers always seem to underachieve compared to their talent level, something injuries have played a huge part in over the past few seasons. With an aging quarterback, Los Angeles needed to put together a solid draft to have any legitimate hope at contending in the AFC West this season.


Mike Williams




Forrest Lamp


Western Kentucky


Dan Feeney




Rayshawn Jenkins


Miami (FL)


Desmond King




Sam Tevi




Isaac Rochell


Notre Dame

UDFA Signings: Dillon DeBoer, C, Florida Atlantic; Sean Culkin, TE, Missouri; Michael Davis, CB, BYU; Austin Ekeler, RB, Western State; Nigel Harris, LB, South Florida; Eli Jenkins, QB, Jacksonville State; Younghoe Koo, K, Georgia Southern; Mike Moore, LB, Kansas State; Brandon Stewart, CB, Kansas; Brad Watson, CB, Wake Forest; Mason Zandi, OL, South Carolina; Andre Patton, WR, Rutgers; Artavis Scott, WR, Clemson; James Onwualu, LB, Notre Dame; Dontre Wilson, RB, Ohio State

The choice of Mike Williams at No. 7 surprised many, but Los Angeles obviously has worries about Keenan Allen's injury issues and Travis Benjamin's poor first year in Chargers blue.

We actually had Williams going to Los Angeles in our January mock draft, and the contested-catch receiver is a nice fit for Philip Rivers, who has always been willing to throw balls into tight coverage. Williams looked no worse for the wear after a serious neck injury kept him out for most of the 2015 season, and while he may struggle to separate in the NFL, he dominates in battles and uses his 6-3, 218-pound frame well.

Forrest Lamp was garnering first-round hype at some points during the process, but he didn't have to wait long to hear his name on Day 2. The Chargers had dinner with Lamp before his Pro Day and obviously came away impressed with the Western Kentucky lineman, who was looked at as a player who could play all five offensive line positions by many teams. Lamp is smart, strong and quick and moves well to the second level, and he should wind up starting at left guard in L.A.

A Senior Bowl riser who most projected would be off the board by the middle of Round 2, Dan Feeney was another nice value pick for an offensive line that needed help entering the draft. An intense, powerful and smart interior blocker who is ineffective in space, Feeney could team up with Lamp as Los Angeles' guard tandem of the future.

Rayshawn Jenkins was a seventh-rounder on our board who struggles both with lateral speed and in man coverage. An instinctive downhill safety best with the action in front of him, he projects as an asset on special teams and a player who could see time as a conventional strong safety.

The Chargers made up for the Jenkins reach by grabbing Desmond King, a borderline second-rounder on our board, in Round 5. A cornerback at Iowa who looked like a first-rounder two seasons ago, many teams viewed him as a safety, and the Chargers will work him in at both positions to see where he fits best. A physical cover man who stays with receivers well on short and intermediate routes, his deep speed is a concern as are his 2016 struggles, both of which precipitated his fall into the third day.

Sam Tevi ended L.A.'s streak of Senior Bowl participants at four, although he did participate in the East-West Shrine Game. Tevi was another great value along the offensive line for the Chargers and has potential to further grow into his 6-5, 311-pound frame. A strong run blocker who moves well but struggles with his fundamentals off the edge, Tevi has starter upside if he develops more strength at the point.

The team went back to Senior Bowl players by taking Isaac Rochell in the seventh. Rochell didn't progress much as a senior but has good athleticism and flashes power at 6-4, 280. He's a potential two-gap end in the Chargers' 3-4 scheme if he gets back on track.

Artavis Scott was another Senior Bowl product and went undrafted, and while his game won't blow anybody away he's a solid possession receiver underneath and can help out on returns. Brad Watson watched his stock drop in 2016 and struggles with his back to the ball, but he could turn into a contributor in a system that keeps the action in front of him.

Analysis: The Chargers shocked most by taking Williams near the top of Round 1, but it seems like they aren't counting on Allen to stay healthy or Benjamin to return to form. They doubled down on two of their weaker positions with their next four picks, getting value on Lamp and Feeney along the offensive line while adding Jenkins and King on the back end at safety. This was a solid overall effort for the Chargers heading into their first season in L.A. Grade: B