The San Diego Chargers found themselves struggling immensely during 2015, finishing with a 4-12 record (including 0-8 against teams that finished above .500) and missing the playoffs for the second straight year. The poor record secured the 3rd overall pick in the 2016 draft, which gave the Chargers their pick of the field after it became evident that both Los Angeles and Philadelphia were likely going to select quarterbacks. With eight total picks in this year’s draft, how will San Diego look to bolster its roster to get back on track in 2016?
Team Needs: Left tackle, Defensive end, Safety (
Round 1, Pick #3
After both the Eagles and Rams traded up to select quarterbacks, the Chargers essentially had their pick of whoever they wanted in the draft. Rumors swirled that Laremy Tunsil or Jalen Ramsey could go number three to San Diego, but the team ultimately decided to select versatile defensive end Joey Bosa. San Diego needed major help in both run defense and pass rushing, and Bosa can undeniably help the team in both those areas. He rotated positions within the Buckeyes’ defense, and could provide a similar flexibility to the Chargers. Bosa can have an instant impact on a San Diego defense that ranked 20th in yards allowed and recorded just 32 sacks last season.
Round 2, Pick #35
Henry was the cream of the tight end crop in what was a relatively weak draft class at the position. While he is not likely to develop into a player as dominant or dynamic as Rob Gronkowski and the NFL’s other top-tier tight ends, he can still be a solid overall contributor for San Diego. After losing LaDarius Green to the Steelers, the Chargers needed to address their tight end depth as long-time star Antonio Gates’ career is likely drawing to a close. While Henry is unlikely to have a career as lengthy with the Chargers as Gates had, he can serve as a productive player in the near future. The Chargers add another weapon by picking up the best tight end the 2016 draft class had to offer.
Round 3, Pick #66
Max Tuerk, C, USC, 6’5”, 298 lbs
Heading into the draft, one of the Chargers’ biggest needs was on the offensive line. San Diego gave up 40 sacks last season, the 12th most in the NFL. The Chargers lost longtime center Nick Hardwick to retirement after the 2014 season, and Chris Watt was below average in the games he appeared in last year. Pro Football Spot rated Tuerk as the
Round 4, Pick #102
Perry was overshadowed on Ohio State’s vaunted front seven. With the likes of Joey Bosa and Darron Lee getting most of the attention, Perry went relatively under the radar. Still, he was a consistent player for the Buckeyes who can continue to produce at the professional level. He lacks the coverage skills to be an every-down defender, but he can develop into an impactful player for the Chargers.
Round 5, Pick #175 (Comp)
Jatavis Brown, OLB, Akron, 5’11”, 227 lbs
The Chargers selected linebackers in back-to-back rounds, this time addressing the outside position by picking Brown. Brown is a quick player, running a 4.47 40-yard dash at a regional combine. His size leaves a little to be desired as a linebacker, but his overall athleticism serves as a major positive in the modern-day NFL. NFL.com projected him as a potential day two pick, so the Chargers may have gotten a solid pick for less than he was thought to be worth.
Round 6, Pick #179
Drew Kaser, P, Texas A&M, 6’2”, 212 lbs
Kaser has the honor of being the first punter off the board in the 2016 draft. Incumbent Chargers punter Mike Scifres will turn 36 in October and is entering his 14th season in the NFL. His time in the league is likely coming to a close, so San Diego may be planning to move on with Kaser as their primary punter. Kaser was named first-team All-SEC in 2015, and placed over a third of his punts inside the 20-yard line. His biggest strength is definitely his kicking power; he had punts of at least 64 yards in five games last year. Drafting a punter usually means the plan is for that player to make the roster right away, so Kaser could be San Diego’s long-term answer at the position.
Round 6, Pick #198 (from Vikings)
Derek Watt, FB, Wisconsin, 6’2”, 236 lbs
Watt will be reunited with fellow running back Melvin Gordon in the Chargers’ backfield. He is another versatile player who can contribute in a variety of ways, assuming he can bulk up and get to a more NFL-ready size. He can be a lead blocker and also take carries himself when called upon. Fullbacks are becoming less important in today’s league, but Watt can still carve himself a niche with the Chargers.
Round 7, Pick #224
Donavon Clark, OG, Michigan State, 6’4”, 315 lbs
The Chargers picked up their second offensive lineman of the draft adding selecting Tuerk in the third round. This time it was former-Spartan Donavon Clark. While a roster spot is nothing certain for the guard, he will have his chance to compete on a sub-par offensive line in San Diego.
2016 NFL Draft Schedule
Day 1 (Round 1) | Thursday, April 28, 8:00pm ET
Day 2 (Rounds 2-3) | Friday, April 29, 7:00pm ET
Day 3 (Rounds 4-7) | Saturday, April 30, 12:00pm ET