The NFL Draft is roughly 100 days away, and many draft pundits have already posted their first mock drafts for the annual event set for April 28.
Thanks to the Chargers’ devastating 20-17 loss to the Cleveland Browns last Sunday, General Manager Tom Telesco and Co. are currently locked into the seventh selection in the first round behind the NY Jets.
For the third consecutive season, injuries have played a major role in the team’s inability to participate in the post season. On Tuesday, the Chargers officially placed undrafted rookie running back Kenneth Farrow on injured reserve, making him the 19th player to be placed on IR this season.
With needs along the offensive line, wide receiver and defensive back positions, here is a look at a few mock drafts out there for review along with some quotes from the pundits predicting the direction the Chargers will choose. The mocks listed below have been out for a few weeks and most have the Chargers picking in the Top 10 with one pundit having the bolts owning the sixth pick overall.
Although the mocks have been updated because of injuries, draft slots and other variables, most pundits believe the Chargers will choose a player to fill one of those voids mentioned above. The numbers in the parenthesis represent the pick where each pundit believes the Chargers will choose.
The UT’s Eddie Brown (10), Rotoworld’s Josh Norris (9) and Charlie Campbell at Walter Football (10) believe Alabama’s offensive tackle Cam Robinson will be the future left tackle in San Diego.
Brown on Robinson: “The Chargers go back to the Crimson Tide well to sure up an inconsistent offensive line. Robinson held his own against the best-of-the-best pass rushers this season: Texas A&M’s Garrett, Tennessee’s Derek Barnett, LSU’s speedy sophomore Arden Key and Auburn’s Carl Lawson. The only thing that could hold him back next April is his legitimate off-field concerns. He was arrested in May on guns and drugs charges, but the charges were dropped.”
Campbell on Robinson: “The Chargers haven’t been afraid to select a player with slight character concerns, so they won’t pass on Cam Robinson for that reason. Robinson would be a huge help for the Chargers, as they have severe blocking issues up front, King Dunlap and Joe Barksdale have both regressed this year, so San Diego has to find a new tackle to help protect Philip Rivers as he enters his final seasons in the NFL.”
ESPN’s Todd McShay (10) and The Sporting News’ Eric Galco (6) both have the Chargers selecting Clemson wide receiver Mike Williams with the 10th and 6th picks, respectively.
McShay on Williams: “At 6-foot-3, Williams profiles as a legitimate No. 1 weapon at the next level. He shows an excellent ability to create late separation when the ball is in the air, scoring 10 touchdowns this season. Coming off a scary neck injury to open the 2015 campaign, Williams has done it all for the Tigers in his return to the field.”
Galco on Williams: “San Diego’s defense has a quietly strong unit, and the Chargers likely won’t invest in it early in the draft unless they can find a nose tackle with enough value. Keenan Allen’s injury history, coupled with their lack of a taller/physical red-zone presence, justifies a high receiver pick.”
FOX Sports’ George Stockburger and CBS Sports’ Dane Brugler have the Chargers selecting a free safety. Stockburger believes the pick at No. 7 will be Jamal Adams out of LSU whereas Brugler has Ohio State free safety Malik Hooker being selected with pick No. 9.
Stockburger on Adams: “With Jabril Peppers off the board, and no offensive lineman in this class worthy of this high a selection, San Diego sprints to the podium to choose Jamal Adams. Adams is at his best when he’s playing near the line of scrimmage, but he is hardly inadequate in high coverage. He is quick to read and drive on balls underneath, and has the quickness to mirror slot wide receivers and the physicality to match up with tight ends. Watching his game film, there aren’t many negative things to say about the 2015 Second Team All-SEC (Coaches, AP). Adams’ elite combination of physicality, instincts and energy would be incredibly enticing for San Diego, who have not properly replaced Eric Weddle since his ugly departure.”
Brugler on Hooker: “The Chargers are feeling the void left by Eric Weddle in the secondary, but Hooker has the sky-high potential that could help San Diego fans move on from him.”
The Endzone: Other names mentioned on the various mock draft sites were Michigan safety Jabril Peppers, Clemson wide receiver Corey Davis and a promising offensive tackle out of Wisconsin named Ryan Ramczyk who made the successful jump from Division III to FS competition. Aside from Myles Garrett, the outstanding DE out of Texas A&M being the consensus No.1 overall pick, every mock draft will change numerous times before the draft next April — remember, underclassmen have until January 16 to apply for early draft eligibility.