Grading the Draft - Los Angeles Chargers

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Chris Tripodi

Draft Analyst Writer

Despite a disappointing first season in Los Angeles, it was difficult to find any overwhelming needs on the Chargers roster in the lead-up to the draft. That made their first-round pick quite intriguing, and many expected them to address the defensive side of the football.

Round 1 (No. 17 overall): Derwin James, S, Florida State

Round 2 (No. 48): Uchenna Nwosu, LB, USC

Round 3 (No. 84): Justin Jones, DT, NC State

Round 4 (No. 119): Kyzir White, S, West Virginia

Round 5 (No. 155): Scott Quessenberry, OC, UCLA

Round 6 (No. 191): Dylan Cantrell, WR, Texas Tech

Round 7 (No. 251): Justin Jackson, RB, Northwestern

UDFA: Patrick Afriyie, DE, Colgate; Tony Brown, CB, Alabama; Franklin Clay, CB, Georgia State; Zachary Crabtree, OT, Oklahoma State; Christopher Durant, OT, William & Mary; Marcus Edmond, CB, Clemson; Brandon Facyson, CB, Virginia Tech; Zack Golditch, OG, Colorado State; Albert Havili, DE, Eastern Washington; D’Juan Hines, LB, Houston; Cole Hunt, TE, TCU; Bijhon Jackson, DT, Arkansas; Ben Johnson, TE, Kansas; JJ Jones, WR, West Georgia; Tevin Lawson, DE, Nicholls State; Anthony Manzo-Lewis, FB, Albany; Detrez Newsome, RB, Western Carolina; Steven Richardson, DT, Minnesota; Trenton Scott, OG, Grambling; Kent Shelby, WR, McNeese State; Nic Shimonek, QB, Texas Tech; Shane Tripucka, P, Texas A&M

A top-eight player on our board, the Chargers weren't expecting to see Derwin James fall into their laps at No. 17. An explosive enforcer on the back end, James should help San Diego set the tone on defense with his physicality, although he isn't an ideal cover safety.

Uchenna Nwosu came off the board about a round too early. He's tough and fast but struggled shedding blocks against tight ends at USC and might be maxed out physically, and his pass-rushing skills may not translate to the next level.

One of the biggest defensive risers at the Senior Bowl, Justin Jones earned his way into the second day of the draft. He combines quickness and explosiveness with good technique and progressed nicely the past two seasons at NC State. He's a versatile lineman who should fit in as a three-technique in L.A..

The Chargers' third straight pick out of the Senior Bowl was Kyzir White, who was a second-rounder on our board. He's a bit redundant with James as a run-defending safety, but L.A. found good value here.

We stamped Scott Quessenberry with a free-agent grade, as he'll likely be limited to backup duty at the next level. He's a hard worker who struggles athletically, but he's versatile enough to play all three interior positions.

Dylan Cantrell was nice value in the sixth round, as was Justin Jackson outside of the top 250 picks. Cantrell tested through the roof in Indianapolis and is an underrated possession receiver who wins his share of contested balls.

Jackson is a bit undersized (5-foot-11.5, 199 pounds), but he has a three-down skill set and should prove to be a nice option behind Melvin Gordon.

Los Angeles found two interesting UDFA corners in Tony Brown and Brandon Facyson, who we tagged as fifth-round prospects.

Brown has good size (6-foot, 199 pounds) and speed (4.35) but never started at Alabama, although he brings value on special teams. Facyson's development was hampered by injuries after a big freshman season and he struggled with consistency, which he'll need to change to stick in the league.

Analysis: The Chargers had a solid draft, but you can poke holes in all but two of their picks. The lack of value in drafting Nwosu and Quessenberry and doubling down on strong safeties with White were all somewhat questionable, but their final two picks were sleepers who could help balance that out. Grade: B-