We are on the downhill swing of our 2018 Daily Norseman Community Mock Draft, ladies and gentlemen. Let’s review how the past five picks have looked before we jump into our look at the next team on the board.
13. Washington Redskins - Derwin James, S, Florida State
14. Green Bay Packers - Mike Hughes, CB, Central Florida
15. Arizona Cardinals - Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville
16. Baltimore Ravens - Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama
We are now on to the 17th overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, which belongs to the Los Angeles Chargers. In their first year in Los Angeles. . .though I’m guessing I’ll refer to them as the San Diego Chargers at least once in this piece. . .the Chargers were up and down, ultimately finishing just out of the postseason in the AFC. In fact, based on the standings and the draft order, the Chargers were the last team out, as the rest of the non-playoff teams in this year’s draft are from the NFC. They have some holes to fill, so let’s take a look at them now.
Los Angeles Chargers
2017 record - 9-7 (2nd place, AFC West)
TE Virgil Green (free agent signing), C Mike Pouncey (free agent signing), QB Geno Smith (free agent signing), K Caleb Sturgis (free agent signing), S Jaylen Watkins (free agent signing)
DE Jeremiah Attaochu (signed with San Francisco), G Matt Slauson (signed with Indianapolis), LB Korey Toomer (signed with San Francisco), G Kenny Wiggins (signed with Baltimore)
Center - The team lost Matt Slauson (who spent all of 2017 on IR) to the Colts, and Spencer Pulley was adequate at best as his replacement. The team should be solid at guard with Forrest Lamp (who also missed all of last season) returning this year and Dan Feeney back with another year of seasoning, but the center spot needs some help.
Defensive tackle - Corey Liuget is a very good all-around player at one tackle spot, but Brandon Mebane is on his last legs and could probably stand to be replaced. Liuget needs a younger running partner next to him in the middle, and there are some good ones available here.
Kicker - Yeah, not in the first round, but seriously. . .no team needs a kicker more than the Chargers, quite frankly.
Linebacker - The Chargers’ defense was last in the NFL against the run last season. Some of that can probably be placed at the feet of the defensive line, but their linebackers got pushed around a lot to help contribute to it as well. They could use help at any of the linebacker positions, but the middle is a particular sore spot.
Offensive tackle - The Chargers’ gamble on Russell Okung appears to be paying off, as he played well for them last year. Right tackle is a slightly different story, where none of the options the Chargers tried last season inspired a whole lot of confidence. They could use someone to solidify the right side of the line.
Quarterback - Again, not in the first round. . .not with the way our board has fallen, anyway. . .but they need to find a successor for Philip Rivers, and quickly.
James Daniels, C/G, Iowa - With the injury that Billy Price suffered at this year’s Scouting Combine, Daniels is probably the best center available in this year’s draft class. He’s being viewed by some as a possibility at guard, which is a transition that he could probably make with ease. If the Chargers view him as more of a center than a guard, he could slot in right between Forrest Lamp and Dan Feeney and form a very good interior trio for a team that struggled to run the ball last season.
Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame - McGlinchey might be the best offensive tackle in this year’s class. . .though if you asked five different pundits to rate this year’s offensive tackles, you might get five different names at the top of that list. . .and would certainly step in and fill the huge hole at right tackle.
Da’Ron Payne, DT, Alabama - At this point, Payne is definitely a better run defender than a pass rusher, though he certainly has all of the physical tools to become an all-around force on the defensive line. Paired with Liuget, he could significantly upgrade the defensive interior for the Chargers in short order.
Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Boise State - I’ve got Vander Esch as the second-highest inside linebacker type on the board, though your mileage may vary on that. He’s not just a two-down middle linebacker, as he’s quite good in coverage and has the ability to make plays from sideline to sideline. He can definitely be a Day 1 starter for this defense and stay on the field for all three downs.
Per a suggestion from the comments of yesterday’s post, I’m going to start limiting the potential options to one player from a position group, so as not to divide the vote between two guys that play the same spot. To be clear, though, in this case I think that interior offensive line and tackle are two drastically different positions, hence the reason for having both Daniels and McGlinchey available as options here (and Daniels because he’s a center, where the Chargers need help). I also don’t have Marcus Davenport as an option this time, as the Chargers play a 4-3 and are pretty well set at defensive end with Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa there.
With the seventeenth pick in the 2018 Daily Norseman Community Mock Draft, the Los Angeles Chargers (should) select ____________
This poll is closed
James Daniels, C/G, Iowa
Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame
Da’Ron Payne, DT, Alabama
Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Boise State