Cortez Broughton: A Sleeper To Watch

Los Angeles Chargers Training Camp 2018. Photo Credit: Monica Dyrud | The LAFB Network
Los Angeles Chargers Training Camp 2018. Photo Credit: Monica Dyrud | The LAFB Network

Throughout the draft process, there were a few players that I thought could be good sleeper options for the Chargers. Some of them ended up going much earlier than projected, losing their sleeper status, and one went much later. Cortez Broughton.

The Bolts went into the draft with a huge need at defensive tackle, and they addressed it. With their first pick, they selected Jerry Tillery, who is a monster, but the position group was still thin. I was a huge advocate that in this absolutely stacked class, that they should double-dip at defensive tackle.

I had a fourth-round grade on Broughton but thought realistically that he would go somewhere around the fifth round. The Chargers decided to address other positions early on in Day Three, and understandably so, and I wondered if they would regret passing on the Cincinnati product. Then, with a stroke of luck, he fell right into their lap in the seventh round!

Broughton is the definition of a late-bloomer. He compiled 3.5 sacks and 10.5 tackles for loss in his first three years at Cincinnati. In 2018 alone, he exploded for 7.5 sacks and a ridiculous 18.5 tackles for loss to put him on the NFL radar.There is a lot to like about his game, but he needs to refine his skills. His pass-rush arsenal is very deep using an assortment of different moves to get after quarterbacks. The problem is that his hand-work is very inconsistent, struggling at times to keep offensive lineman from latching on. Like many interior linemen, at times he struggles with leverage, letting his pads get too high getting driven out of holes. 

On the plus side, his physical traits are unteachable. Broughton’s first step is absolutely blazing, blasting into linemen before they know what hit them. He repeatedly got into opposing backfields causing havoc with elite penetration skills. You can’t leave him unblocked on pulling plays because he swallows up running backs as soon as they’re handed the ball. He also anchors very well on most plays using tremendous lower body strength to hold his ground.  When his hands are active, he can get into the quarterbacks face in a flash with quick powerful moves. He has massive upside here if his technique can be refined. When he doesn’t get to the quarterback he does a good job getting his hands into passing lanes. His ability to penetrate and push the pocket could have him push for a rotational spot on the line this season.

The Chargers have been good recently at finding contributors in the seventh round with Justin Jackson and Isaac Rochell. Before that, we had players like Tevin Reese, Donavon Clark, and Edwin Baker who never managed to make an impact. The success rate for players drafted as late as Broughton don’t have great success historically but he certainly has a chance.

If the Chargers coaching staff can unlock his full potential, they might have found another diamond in the rough. Broughton might count as a sleeper, but fans won’t be sleeping on him for long.

Cortez Broughton joined The Coach and The Don on the Bleav In LA Football Podcast which you can listen to here!