It's amazing how little people around the league know about this pick. We polled our league contacts, and about a third think it'll be Jalen Ramsey; a third believes a tackle will be the pick; and a final third gave DeForest Buckner the nod. The Chargers have done a great job of keeping their intentions silent - or, it's completely possible that they don't even know what they're going to do yet, though according to Britt McHenry, they've nailed it down to one player.
I'm more confident with every other pick in this mock draft. I'm at a loss here. Nothing would surprise me at this point, and I actually slotted Ronnie Stanley here for two hours. However, right now, at 3:45 p.m., I'm going to move back to DeForest Buckner, whom I mocked to San Diego the night before. FOX Sports' Alex Marvez has reported that Stanley will not be the pick.
*** OTHER 2016 NFL DRAFT POSSIBILITIES: ***
1. Jalen Ramsey, CB/S - The Chargers lost Eric Weddle, and Jalen Ramsey, perhaps the best player in this draft, would be a great replacement.
2. Laremy Tunsil, OT - Tunsil could be the pick here, too. Many have Stanley slotted here, but Marvez has reported that Stanley won't be the pick.
Pick change; previously Ronnie Stanley, OT
Rd. 2, Pk. 4
Karl Joseph, S, West Virginia
If the Chargers end up passing on Jalen Ramsey, they'll almost certainly target a safety on the second day of the draft. They could be interested in Karl Joseph, who has been receiving some first-round buzz recently.
Rd. 3, Pk. 3
Shilique Calhoun, DE/3-4OLB, Michigan State
The Chargers spent a second-round pick on Jeremiah Attaochu recently, but they'll have to use an early choice on another rush linebacker soon, given that Melvin Ingram will be hitting free agency soon.
Rd. 4, Pk. 4
Jerell Adams, TE, South Carolina
The Chargers re-signed Antonio Gates this offseason, but managed to lose Ladarius Green in the process. As a result, they'll have to find a new, young tight end to take over for Gates once he retires.
Rd. 5, Pk. 36
John Theus, OT, Georgia
Here's more offensive line depth for the Chargers.
I'm still torn on who to project to the Chargers. Taking Jalen Ramsey to replace Eric Weddle makes sense, while the offensive line had a lot of problems last year. San Diego has signed offensive tackles to contracts with significant guaranteed money over the past two offseasons, but I've heard from team sources a variety of names, including Jalen Ramsey, Laremy Tunsil, Ronnie Stanley, and one said they think San Diego is leaning toward Joey Bosa. However, Stanley appears to be the favorite for the Chargers because they prefer his run blocking to Tunsil.
Stanley has the potential to be a franchise left tackle. He is very athletic and quick for his size. Stanley possesses good length to him and sustains his blocks pretty well. He also has the speed and agility to mirror speed rushers, and therefore is a skilled blind-side protector. His significant athleticism allows him to hit blocks downfield as well.
However, Stanley needs to add more power and play with more of a mean streak, and he has to improve his ability to avoid mental mistakes with penalties. Stanley can struggle with physical defensive linemen - see Clemson and Shaq Lawson.
Stanley (6-5, 312) generated a ton of late-season buzz in 2014, and he put an exclamation point on it by getting the better of the top 2015 NFL Draft-eligible defensive lineman in USC's Leonard Williams in limited plays against each other. In 2013, Stanley started at right tackle and was part of a line that allowed only eight sacks on the season.
Rd. 2, Pk. 4
Austin Johnson, DT/3-4DE/NT, Penn State
The Chargers grab a nose tackle with versatile size for their 3-4 defense..
Johnson produced a quality season for Penn State in 2015. The 6-foot-4, 314-pounder was a tough defender at the point of attack with 78 tackles, 15 tackles for a loss and 6.5 sacks. At the Senior Bowl, Johnson had a quality week, though he wasn't overly impressive.
Johnson had one sack as a sophomore and freshman. The jump was in part due to quarterbacks stepping up to avoid Carl Nassib in 2015. Johnson projects as a nose tackle for a 3-4 or 4-3 defense in the NFL.
Pick change; previously T.J. Green, S
Rd. 3, Pk. 3
Tyler Boyd, WR, Pittsburgh
The Chargers could use more receiving talent.
Boyd totaled 91 receptions for 926 yards and six touchdowns in 2015. The year before, he notched 78 receptions for 1,126 yards and eight touchdowns. The 6-foot-1, 197-pounder has speed to go with his size. The sophomore was impressive against good defensive backs in 2014, including Virginia Tech's tough secondary. If Boyd can stay out of trouble in the leadup to the 2016 NFL Draft, his DUI arrest probably won't prevent him from being selected early on.
In Boyd's first game for the Panthers in 2013, he gave Florida State some problems. That set the tone for him to break a lot of Larry Fitzgerald's freshman records. Boyd caught 85 passes for 1,174 yards with seven touchdowns in 2013. He also ran for a score and returned a punt for a touchdown.
Rd. 4, Pk. 4
Jerell Adams, TE, South Carolina
The Chargers need a backup tight end. Ladarius Green left in free agency and Antonio Gates is aging. Here's an understudy.
At the combine, Adams had an excellent workout to really help his draft stock. He turned in the fastest 40 time of any tight end and showed some nice athleticism in the field work. Adams had a solid week at the Senior Bowl, and given the weak tight end class, he could be drafted earlier than expected.
Adams took over for Rory Anderson in 2015 and had a good season despite poor quarterback play at South Carolina. Adams totaled 28 catches for 421 yards with three touchdowns on the year. As a junior (21-279-1) and sophomore (13-187-2), he had modest contributions.
Rd. 5, Pk. 36
Jayron Kearse, S, Clemson
After passing on Jalen Ramsey, the Chargers get some safety depth.
Its funny how every mock draft now has the Chargers taking Laremy Tunsil like its a for sure pick. Not so fast. Tom Telesco is re committed to the line he has last year and will not take an OT at 3 after the investments he has put out this season. King Dunlap would be the 14th highest paid OT to ride the bench? come on now. If the Chargers thought Tunsil was a possibility they wouldn't have resigned Dunlap and their other option to bench Orlando Franklin is foolish.
with that being said, Jalen Ramsey is the pick. You take the best player in the draft and he will immediately come in and tear things up. Its a win win situation for San Diego you can plug him in at CB and say goodbye to the struggling Brandon Flowers or you can use him at safety to fill the role Eric Weddle left behind. Ramsey, Verrett, Hayward... that's a scary secondary.
Scouting report: Dominant athlete. Sprinter and champion long jumper for Seminoles track team and hit a 40-inch vertical leap in high school. Prototype frame for a big, press cover corner. From press, lands accurate blows with extended arms into the shoulders of receivers. Can redirect and, in some cases, completely roadblock a route with his disruptive press strength and tactics. Has experience at safety and as slot corner. Boundary corner in 2015 and quick to crowd outside releases against sideline. Shines in trail coverage. Has athletic ability to slam on brakes from full sprint and shadow comeback routes. Length and closing speed make it difficult to beat him over the top. Elite leaper who can challenge jump balls against anyone. Uses aggressive ripping and raking against catch attempts. Aware and instinctive from zone and off coverage. Diagnoses quickly and will stick a foot in the ground and drive hard towards the throw. Balanced, wrap-up tackler in space. Allowed a completion rate of just 38.5 percent.
Other possibilities: DeForest Buckner DE, Joey Bosa DE, Myles Jack LB
There's a good possibility this pick may determine how the rest of the top-10 plays out. If the Chargers take Laremy Tunsil, like I expect them to, both the Jaguars and Ravens, hoping he'll fall to them, will have to scramble and make a new pick quickly, If the Chargers take someone else, it'll likely influence every pick until #8 with Cleveland. While it's not the biggest need in San Diego, taking the draft's best player could jumpstart both the pass and run game. Additionally, neither Jalen Ramsey nor DeForest Buckner, the next two top players on the board, are perfect fits for what the Chargers need or their defensive scheme.
1. Jalen Ramsey - The Chargers replaced Eric Weddle with Dwight Lowery, but he's 30 and was signed really cheap.
2. DeForest Buckner - The biggest defensive need for San Diego is a 5-technique defensive end. Buckner can fit there, but isn't the type of player the Chargers usually target at that position.
3. Trade - The Chargers would love to trade this pick, but it's unlikely they'll be able to with the QB's off the board.
NFL.com/My Comparison: Calais Campbell
20th Total Defense
27th Rush Defense
DT-Luiget(11/1) NT-Mebane(U/SEA) DE-Buckner(16/1)
(2)- Palepoi(CF14) (2)-Lissemore(T/DAL) (2)-Philon(15/6)
I admit bias here. I am a Chargers fan and I have wanted Buckner all along and seeing rumors he may be coming here has me on the train. The Chargers have needed to complete their DL for a long time. Liuget has been fine and adding Mebane was great, now to have Buckner would be great. We have been working to build the line-backing corp and added Verrett also, but the DL has suffered. I do feel bad not protecting Rivers, but Dunlap and Barkdale make to much to add another to the rotation. I feel they can find decent talent round 2, 3, or 4, but Buckner is too special to pass.
Headed into this season, Buckner was a traits prospect who flashed with quickness, strength and overall athleticism, but he put those traits together in 2015. Buckner has the body type of a classic 3-4 defensive end who can control the point of attack with length and power, but he has above average pass rush potential for that position which figures to push him into the early stages of round one. Buckner has similar power to former teammate Arik Armstead, but is a much better pass rusher and has a chance to become a dominant force in the NFL.
After taking OT Ronnie Stanley and DB Jalen Ramsey for a test drive over the past two weeks, respectively, we're back in the saddle with big Joey Bosa this time around the block. Looking ahead to the annual NFL Scouting Combine, it will be interesting to see how Bosa performs. NFL.com has identified a few of the potential "workout freaks", with Mr. Bosa included, of course. If he lives up to the high expectations in his workouts, it stands to reason that JB might leap (flip?) off the page as the target for the Chargers with the third-overall pick. He could be a potential difference-maker at either OLB or DE in John Pagano's 3-4 scheme, possibly even replacing the disappointing Kendall Reyes, who is set to test the free agent waters (if he can find any takers). Regardless of where he lines up, Bosa should have an impact early if the Chargers draft him.
This might be the worst-case scenario for the Chargers after the trade down, as this Chargers fan would prefer Ramsey or Buckner, and Bosa falling here would likely invite a(nother) trade - perhaps from the Giants, for whom JPP can't get it done singlehandedly.
Not that an added blocker is possibly a bad thing for the Bolts right now. Stanley was durable enough in college to pass up on a sure-thing early declaration in 2015, making him instantly more reliable than King Dunlap (or any other lineman on the roster, for that matter). Joe Barksdale is liable to get overpaid in free agency, so Stanley could start right away at right tackle even if Dunlap's healthy, and step in on the blind side when - it's not if - Dunlap goes down.
Show/Hide Other Mocks with Ronnie Stanley Going to Chargers
Rd. 1, Pk. 3
Joey Bosa, DE/3-4OLB,
Wow. No one had this. Everyone we polled around the league had DeForest Buckner, Jalen Ramsey, Laremy Tunsil or Ronnie Stanley. No one we polled, and no mock-draft analyst predicted Bosa. I'm so shocked, I'm almost at a loss for words. Almost. Bosa should be a good player, but his fit in a 3-4 is pretty questionable, ......
Rd. 2, Pk. 4
Hunter Henry, TE,
It was expected that the Chargers would take a tight end at some point after losing Ladarius Green to the Steelers in free agency. Hunter Henry is the top tight end in the class, and he was viewed as a high second-round prospect, so this selection makes a ton of sense. The Chargers probably should've gone with Myles Jack, but I won't knock them down too much for it.