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AFC West

LA Chargers 2020 Draft Review

Out with the old, in with the new. The Los Angeles Chargers will be entering the 2020 season into SoFi Stadium with new talent from the 2020 NFL draft. The Chargers actually have a loaded roster already, but they were missing a few pieces to complete this loaded puzzle of talent. There are some huge voids to fill after departures from guys like Philip Rivers, Thomas Davis, Russell Okung, and Melvin Gordon, who is now with division rival Denver Broncos.

The Los Angeles Chargers will be going from Rivers’ regime to the Herbie: Fully Loaded era! Justin Herbert is a 6’6 236 pound quarterback who was the number 6 overall pick in the 1st round. Some of Herbert’s strengths are his superb arm, he pushes the ball down the field, and has the ability to keep plays alive with his legs. The weaknesses in Herbert’s game are inconsistency with his accuracy, getting the ball out quick, and questions about his leadership abilities. Usually top 10 picks walk into rebuilding situations, but he gets to throw to a plethora of weapons like Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, Hunter Henry, and versatile backs.

In recent years, Tom Telsco and the Los Angeles Chargers have been known to not step out their comfort zone when it comes to drafts. Well, as I said earlier, the Chargers have begun to move on from their old habits, and what better way to get aggressive and draft Kenneth “Meat” Murray. The Chargers traded their 2nd and 3rd round picks in the 2020 NFL draft with the New England Patriots for their 1st round number 23 overall pick. Kenneth Murray is a flat out steal and worthy investment since he was projected to have gone earlier in the draft. Murray’s strengths are simply wreaking havoc sideline to sideline, excellent eyes with reading his keys, and he can matchup with tight ends and running backs. Some of his weaknesses are his hand usage when he engages with offensive linemen, may need to gain more strength, and at times, he’ll take bad angles to the football. Murray is a huge upgrade and will fit well in Gus Bradley’s 4-3 scheme because most of his linebackers are fast, see ball get ball, and take away the hooks and curls by the offense.

In round 4, the Chargers picked up running back Joshua Kelley out of UCLA with the 112th overall pick The 5’11, 219 pound running back was the MVP of UCLA back-to-back years. Kelley is a solid, all around running back since he has speed, welcomes physicality at the running back position, and he’s capable of being a reliable check down guy for his offense. Kelley’s weaknesses are he may have took too many carries as a Bruin, rarely makes people miss, and lacks precise vision as NFL running back. Joshua Kelley will fit right in the Chargers offense after the departure of Melvin Gordon. Kelley will pair with Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson which could form into a 3 headed monster.

The Chargers decided to add more depth at the wide receiver position in round 5 and they chose Joe Reed as their 151th pick. Joe Reed is 6’1, 215 pounds from University of Virginia. Reed will bring speed to the Chargers’ offense and will help out on special teams as a punt and kick returner. Reed has to work on finding that next gear as he tracks balls and figure out how to separate from defenders out of his breaks. Joe Reed will be able to contribute early and pick the brains from route technician Keenan Allen and deep threat Mike Williams.

Lynn and the Chargers selected Alohi Gilman in the 6th round as their 186th pick. This 5’11, 203 pound safety will play with a lot of aggression and communicate well with his teammates. Gilman brings value by playing in the box as strong safety, and sub-packages as a linebacker. His weakness was shown that at times one on one with more gifted athletes, he’ll either lose to a crafty route runner or miss open field tackles. Alohi will most likely back up Derwin James and contribute on special teams.

In round 7, the Chargers chose K.J. Hill to conclude their 2020 NFL draft as the 220th pick. K.J. Hill broke Ohio State great David Boston’s catches record. K.J.’s strengths are his crisp route running, separates well, and has shown he could be an end zone threat. The only weakness K.J. had was he doesn’t clock well as a runner. K.J. Hill was a steal for the Chargers in the 7th round because he has day 2 talent, and it just shows how deep the wide receiver class was in the 2020 NFL draft.

Overall the Chargers had a solid draft. The only pick that I thought was a mistake was selecting Herbert when the chargers have been raving about Tyrod, and Cam is still available. I believe we should’ve solidified our already stacked defense by getting the best available player, which was Isaiah Simmons, who could be the other curl flat defender on the other side of Derwin, or added Derrick Brown with Bosa, Ingram, and Linval Joseph. Other than that, each pick filled voids and made sense. Kenneth Murray will replace Thomas Davis and add speed to a fly to the football defense, Kelley will bring another element to the Chargers back field, Joe Reed and K.J Hill will boost the offense, and Alohi should be a special teams standout.

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