Los Angeles Chargers Draft Analysis. Who Was A Reach, Who Was A Steal?

LA Chargers Head Coach Anthony Lynn. Photo Credit: The LAFB Network
LA Chargers Head Coach Anthony Lynn. Photo Credit: The LAFB Network

The 2020 NFL Draft is over. It was awesome…and that isn’t just a glimpse in the homes (and yachts) of the coaches and general managers. It was also amazing how few teams mucked up their draft.

Tom Telesco knocked it out of SoFi Stadium in free agency. The question is could he replicate the mastery in the draft?

Los Angeles Chargers Draft Analysis. Who Was A Reach, Who Was A Steal?

Best Pick: Joe Reed – Wide Receiver, Virginia, Round 5

You heard it ad nauseam, “best wide receiver class” since 2004. Well with 151st pick the Chargers picked up 6’0″, 224-pound wide receiver Joe Reed.

Last season Reed was named All-ACC first team as a return specialist and an all-purpose player. He is the record holder in kick return yardage (3,042) and kick-return touchdowns (5) at Virginia. As a wide receiver, he had 77 receptions for seven touchdowns and 679 receiving yards.

Reed is the deep threat the Chargers needed, and he doubles as a great addition to the special teams. Look for him to be utilized in many different ways.

Day One Starter/Biggest Need Filled: Kenneth Murray – Linebacker, Oklahoma, Round 1

To the surprise of many, the Chargers traded back into the first round to get linebacker Kenneth Murray. It was worth it. Murray will be a day one starter for the Chargers.

The Chargers defense ranked 31st in rushing yards allowed last season. Murray was drafted to slow that down.

He is a tackling machine who is an excellent run defender, good in zone coverage, can get to the quarterback and can play either the 4-3 or 3-4.

Last season he accumulated 102 tackles with four sacks and four batted passes. Murray checks all the boxes for a team that gave up a second and third-round pick to acquire him.

Sleeper Pick: Joshua Kelley – Running Back, UCLA, Round 4

Kelley is a between the tackle runner which will fill the need with the departure of Melvin Gordon.

At 5’11” and 219 pounds, Kelley is a brutal runner. He looks for contact. And last season he rushed 229 times for 1,060 yards and 12 rushing touchdowns. He averaged 4.6 yards a carry. That was down from his 2018 average of 5.5 yards a carry on four fewer attempts but still 12 touchdowns.

Biggest Reach: Justin Herbert – Quarterback, Oregon, Round 1

I know the Chargers needed to find the “face of the franchise” and it is Herbert. How you feel about this pick determines how you grade the Chargers’ entire draft.

With the sixth pick of the draft, the Chargers went with a quarterback who has tons of “potential”, but who most likely will sit for a year. Yes, it is the Kanas City Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes model.

But unfortunately, Herbert is no Mahomes. Or can he be?

Biggest Steal: K.J. Hill – Wide Receiver, Ohio State, Round 7

Hill Set the career reception record at Ohio State with 201. He also caught 10 touchdown passes last season. How Hill fell to the seventh round is a head-scratcher. The fact that the Chargers were smart enough to pick him up is a steal.

Many believe that Hill fell because of his 40-time at the combine (4.6), but if you watch his tape at Ohio State, that’s all you need to know.

Hill will most likely play in the slot for the Chargers. Look for him to make 31 teams regret not getting him earlier.

And Then: Alohi Gilman – Safety, Notre Dame, Round 6

Gilman is athletic and plays with passion. He will be valuable as a back-up safety, but his special teams ability is where he will make his mark with the Chargers.

Gilman was predicted to go in the fifth round but he fell to the sixth, there is the value. His ‘good’ NFL draft analysis was mostly about attitude: competes hard on every snap; pursues like a mad man with excellent urgency; athleticism and toughness to match up on slot tight ends.

All excellent qualities and to get them in the sixth round on a player that will add substance and playing time is a big get, and then we have our character guy.

Overall Draft Analysis

How you ultimately judge the Chargers 2020 draft depends on how you feel about drafting Herbert with the sixth pick of the draft. Were there better players on the board at the time? Will Herbert live up to his ‘potential’?

And what if Tyrod Taylor knocks it out of the park this year? He did after all take Buffalo to their first post-season game in a bazillion years (okay not that long but you know what I am saying).

How do you grade the Chargers Draft?