Chargers coach Brandon Staley took it seriously when he told the NFL Scouting Combine that he will always look for cornerbacks.
The Chargers signed free agent JC Jackson’s corner last month to pair with last year’s outstanding rookie Asante Samuel Jr., but that didn’t stop Staley from traveling across the country in search of the draft’s best quarterbacks.
The cornerback isn’t an obvious necessity, but he can be as high as an offensive attack on the team’s draft priority list. Adding another quality corner could be the missing piece to unlock Staley’s defense in 2022.
The Chargers have Michael Davis, but he struggled as the team’s No. 1 outfielder last season and could be more suitable as a rotating player. Davis would also give the team the flexibility not to rush a rookie cornerback if they decide to follow that path in Thursday’s first round.
More corners would lead to more opportunities for Staley to play with groups of five and six defensive sides on the field. The Chargers have the 17th pick in the opening round and have no second-round pick, as they sent her to Chicago as part of Khalil Mack’s exchange. They currently have 10 total selections, with two in the sixth round and four in the seventh.
The Chargers have one of the best safety in the NFL with Derwin James, but they lack depth in position. Nasir Adderley, the 2019 second-round pick, had mixed results such as the team’s initial free safety.
Here are the options and scenarios the Chargers could face during the three-day draft in Las Vegas to address their needs in high school:
Meet the top three corners
Ahmad Gardner, Cincinnati
Derek Stingley Jr., LSU
Trent McDuffie, Washington
Analysis: Gardner is considered by many draft experts to be the best corner of draft coverage and probably not in the top 10.
Stingley could have the highest ceiling among corner prospects, but has only played 10 games in the last two seasons because of injuries. Staley, Chargers defensive coordinator Renaldo Hill and defense coach Derrick Ansley made the trip to LSU’s Pro Day and Stingley was probably convinced that he is healthy and remains the same player from his dynamic freshman season.
The Chargers would love to have Gardner or Stingley available in selection 17, but it’s probably a long choice.
McDuffie is a more realistic option for the Chargers, who talked about the St. John Bosco High in the combine. The 5-foot-11 McDuffie said the team was intrigued by his ability to play outside and inside the cornerback.
Dane Brugler, the Athletic draft expert, has McDuffie higher than Stingley and considers McDuffie to be the 12th best prospect in the draft.
What if security Kyle Hamilton drops to 17?
Analysis: Hamilton is making comparisons to James as an insurance for everything outside of Notre Dame, but his project has suffered a blow after posting lower times in the 40-yard line.
James was considered in the top five before mysteriously falling to 17th place for the Chargers in the 2018 draft. Two versatile insurers are better than one, and this would be another dream scenario for the Chargers if Hamilton is available.
Hamilton is probably the only safety the Chargers would consider taking if they don’t change from their first pick. Safety is not a priority, but Adderley has not done enough in his first four seasons to avoid training camp competition.
Options if there is no defense in the first round
Tariq Woolen, CB, UTSA
Coby Bryant, CB, Cincinnati
Joshua Williams, CB, State of Fayetteville
Josh Jobe, CB, Alabama
Jaylen Watson, CB, Washington
Bryan Cook, S, Cincinnati
Nick Cross, S, Maryland
Analysis: All defensive sides listed in this section received a Brugler rating in the third or fourth round. The Chargers currently pick 15º in the third round (79º overall) and 18º in the fourth round (123º overall).
The Chargers could go ahead with a trio of quality cornerbacks made up of Jackson, Samuel and Davis, but the team wants depth in the position thanks to a competitive AFC West with quarterbacks like Denver Russell Wilson, Kansas City Patrick Mahomes and Derek Las Vegas. Carr.
Expect the Chargers to make a corner in the middle rounds if they don’t make it to the first round.
What the draft experts say
Brugler’s assessment of McDuffie from his 2022 NFL draft guide
“McDuffie may not reach the ideal size threshold for some, but it’s easy to sell in draft rooms because he has outstanding athleticism and intelligence and is well-educated in various techniques. He has a high ceiling and a high floor and should start as an NFL rookie. “
Is Trent McDuffie the missing piece in the secondary? – Press Telegram Source link Is Trent McDuffie the missing piece in the secondary? – Press Telegram