2017 Los Angeles #Chargers Draft Grades & Evaluations
4/29/2017 – by James Fedewa
The Chargers wrap up the 2017 NFL Draft and the results were outstanding. Of course, an NFL Draft cannot be graded until these players actually play, but based on draft value and projecting these players (from evaluations, experience/tape and physical measurable) the Chargers selections look extremely impressive.
With arguably the best wide receiver and the two top graded offensive guard prospects in the entire draft, the Chargers hit three home runs in a row with their first three picks (Triple Turkey’s).
Los Angeles Chargers 2017 Draft Grade: A
Round One: Mike Williams, Wide Receiver, Clemson
Williams was the top rated wide receiver in the draft, on many boards, but he was the 2nd wide receiver selected (seventh pick overall). Williams won a National Championship last season with Clemson as he stood out as the best recivers on the team, on a stacked receiving core . A big physical receiver, with amazing jump ball stills, soft hands, good size and power to separate (he makes it look easy). Williams can make a good QB look great. He is a combination of Dez Bryant (size / hands / speed) and Larry Fitzgerald (jump ball) and is a true pro #1 receiver. Pair Williams up with current Chargers starter, Keenan Allen (and Travis Benjamin), this threesome could be the best in the NFL (as all three complement each other: Great Route Runner/ Speedster / Physical-Jumper). Williams will learn a lot from this group and have very good upside. Negatives: fractured a bone in his neck (Sep 2015) after a catching a touchdown and running into the goalpost. Needs to improve route running.
Draft Grade: A / Prediction: Instant WR Starter & #4 target
***Rivers only other first round wide receivers on his team (in his career): Robert Meachem & Buster Davis. (Noteables, Vincent Jackson, Chris Chambers, Eddie Royal & Hunter Henry, 2nd round / Keenan Allen, 3rd round/ Travis Benjamin, 4th round / Malcom Floyd, Tyrell Williams, Eric Parker, Dontrelle Inman, & Antonio Gates: UNDRAFTED
Round Two: Forest Lamp, Offensive Lineman, Western Kentucky
Lamp played left tackle in college, but projects as a guard in the NFL. He has the power and footwork to play any position on the offensive line, but his arm length is not ideal as a pro left tackle. A mauler with great hands who can shove defenders wherever he chooses, Lamp could improve the whole offensive line, as a whole. Lamp has great tape, a mean streak, good mobility and can dominate at the line of scrimmage. Easily the best offensive lineman in the entire draft, in a poor 2017 offensive line class, with no guards drafted in the first round. Lamp will be first be welcomed by his quarterback (protecting Philip Rivers), followed by a happy Melvin Gordon (by opening rushing lanes). Lamp is great selection, he should have been drafted in the first round, no later than the Los Angeles Rams at #37 overall (but landed at #38 right in the Chargers lap). *Telesco’s easiest pick of his GM career. Negatives: Short arms, that is his only knock. However, short arms are just fine as an offensive guard (& Tyransousas Rex). Western Kentucky did play the University of Alabama and Lamp shinned brightest.
Draft Grade: A- / Instant Left Guard Starter & possible swing tackle
Round Three: Dan Feeney, Offensive Guard, Indiana
Feeney was an All-American right guard in college and is very athletic, big, mean, savvy and a two-time team captain. Quick enough to pull and play in zone blocking schemes, but what is really notable is his ability to get to the second level from the line of scrimmage with punishing and burring blocks. Once he gets on you, he can pancake and embarrass you. Feeney has a good anchor, picks up the blitz very well and is quick in pass protection. Projected from the late 1st round to early 2nd round in the 2017 NFL Draft, Feeney was too good to pass up in the 3rd round by former Indiana resident, GM Tom Telesco. Great value pick and a very good player. I liked Feeney better than last years 1st round drafted guard, Joshua Garnett. Negatives: Concussion last year cause him to miss multiple games (and may have caused him to slide in this draft)
Draft Grade: A+ / Instant Right Guard Starter & can develop into a Center
Round Four: Rayshawn Jenkins, Safety, Miami
In the beginning of round four, a run on safeties stated and Telesco reacted quickly. Jenkins is a big hitter, with long arms, good size (6′ 1″) and weight (214#) for a strong safety. 4.51 forty, 19 reps of 225# and 37″ vertical is very impressive. Feels like a “need pick,” but big and fast safeties are hard to find, but from the University of Miami are very notable. **Still learning more about this player. Not enough analysis to have an opinion on Jenkins yet.
Draft Grade: PENDING
Round Five: Desmond King, Defensive Back, Iowa
Highly productive cornerback, best defender on team and had thirteen interceptions in college career (8 in 2015 as a junior). Ranked as a 2nd round NFL draft pick in the 2017 draft, but could have been a 1st round pick last year, as he won the Jim Thorp Award in 2015 (top defensive back in college football). Side Note: Adoree’ Jackson won the Jim Thorp award in 2016 as a junior, and was a 1st round draft pick, with only five career inceptions. Physical and tough enough to play free safety as a pro (72 tackles in 2015 /) and a thick 5′ 10″ 201 lbs. King is absolute steal in the 5th round and another gem Telsco finds lingering around late in the draft. King’s versatility will earn him a lot of early playing time as the Chargers third cornerback. Negatives: Junior year was outstanding, but senior year was not as productive. Slow forty time caused slide, but he plays better than tested.
Draft Grade: A+ / Instant starting nickel back, backup free safety. can develop in to starting outside cornerback
Round Six: Sam Tevi, Offensive Tackle, Utah
Right Tackle, with quick feet and quick feet be taught. Can develop into possible starter with proper power weight training. If he adds strength and bulk. With good feet, could possible project to a very good swing tackle. **Still learning more about this player. Not enough analysis to have an opinion on Tevi yet.
Draft Grade: PENDING
Round Seven: Isaac Rochell, DT/DE. Notre Dame
Defensive End, edge setter, high character guy and great value pick. Good positional add, as the Chargers are changing to a 4-3 front. **Still learning more about this player. Not enough analysis to have an opinion on Rochell yet.
Draft Grade: PENDING
With the additions of Lamp, Feeney (and Russell Okung) to the Chargers offensive line, Rivers protection went from pedestrian and porous, to a possible team strength. Add wide receiver Mike Williams (and returning Keenan Allen) to the receiving corps, the Chargers offense has the potential to be better than the Dallas Cowboys or tops in the league. The Chargers became extremely dangerous offensively, immediately after the draft, especially with the addition with the top two rated offensive guards in the entire draft and the top wide receiver. Plus, if the Chargers do release Orlando Franklin, $6 million will be saved in the salary cap.
The Charges defense found their third cornerback (since Brandon Flowers was cut) in the 5th round and big/fast SS in the 4th. Both were quality found later in the draft.
Overall Color Analysis:
The Chargers drafted multiple rookie starters (many with All Star potential). Four of the first five picks can start day ONE. I love the Changers offensive line, on paper, but three out of five O-linemen could be newbies (to add with center/guard Matt Slauson, right tackle Joe Barksdale). Continuity may be totally overhauled, but change on the o-line is mandatory. The Chargers have not drafted a quality offensive lineman in a decade. The o-line depth has increased immensely, but with so much depth can lead to the release of expensive liabilities, such as 2014 high priced free agent guard, Orlando Franklin (post June 1st cut) and/or possibly Barksdale too.
The wide receiving corps (as a whole) looks very impressive, with the addition of 1st round pick Mike Williams. Williams will be a humble super star / all-star from years to come. GREAT DRAFT.
****Imagine the Chargers just drafted; Dez Bryant (Mike Williams), Zack Martin (Forrest lamp) and Kris Dielman (Dan Feeney) – WOW!