The 2020 NFL Draft is remaining on schedule and the Chargers still have some major needs on the roster. Tom Telesco is known for striking late in free agency but at this point, the draft is the best way to add talent to the roster.
In my first article, I discussed some potential picks the Chargers could be inclined to take at sixth overall. This week I’m looking at what the Chargers will do with their second-round pick. These aren’t necessarily who I would choose, but rather the most likely based on Telesco’s tendencies. Will he strike gold as he did with Hunter Henry or miss as he did with Manti Te’o or Jeremiah Attouchu?
Who To Take At 37? Predicting The Chargers 2nd Round Pick
Jalen Reagor – WR – Texas Christian University
This is probably the pick at 37 that I’m most bullish on. Just like anyone on this list, there’s a chance Reagor doesn’t make it to the second round. Luckily for the Chargers, this is a stacked wide receiver class and some will slip through the cracks.
Reagor looked to be a lock in the first round before some teams soured on him because of his poor 40-time (4.47). Some of this disappointment is because he ran a 4.29 while in college. I’m not worried about the slow time, because his game-speed is noticeably faster. He also ranked second amongst all wideouts in vertical and broad jumps. He is plenty athletic enough to play the position.
Reagor’s production steeply declined in 2019, and there are several reasons for that. His quarterback play was dreadful. According to Pro Football Focus’ Sam Monson, only 30.7% of his targets in 2019 were considered accurate. Another was dropping the football. One of his flaws is trying to make a move before he secures the ball and mostly seems to be a focus issue. Catching the ball is priority number one, but with better concentration and hand-alignment it should improve.
The one thing he has that you can’t teach is explosiveness. Reagor has top-notch acceleration and can put defenses in a tough position off the snap. Despite his poor speed testing, he is one of the better vertical threats in the draft. He’s is also electric after the catch which is not something the Chargers have at receiver. The first tackler rarely gets a hand on him. More than that he can string several moves together for some really special runs.
Reagor won’t be mistaken for a physical receiver, but he does play much larger than his 5’11 frame would suggest. He scored 22 touchdowns over three years at TCU and a decent amount of those were jump balls. He is good at playing above-the-rim and attacking the ball at the highest point. He was also one of the best punt returners in the country. In 2019 he averaged 20.8 yards per return and taking two back for touchdowns.
There is a big need at receiver behind Keenan Allen and Mike Williams. While Reagor isn’t the most complete receiver in the class, his skill-set would fit nicely with the team’s current weapons. The Chargers need a deep-threat and could use another playmaker to try and keep up with the Chiefs.
Austin Jackson – OT – University of Southern California
This is one of the most common selections I’ve seen mocked to the Chargers at this pick. I mean it makes sense for anyone deciding not to take one of the top-tier prospects in the first. However, I’m not sure that he is the answer to the team’s Okung-sized hole at left tackle.
Jackson is very gifted physically and is a very good athlete for the position. He excels in getting out on screens and finding someone to get his hands on and looks comfortable and fluid when he’s asked to pull. When he gets to the second level, he’s effective and he’s not going to slow you down. He is very quick off the ball and has moments of really good power at the point of attack when his technique is sound.
The problem with Jackson is that he is inconsistent. He has great reach and usually gets his hands on pass-rushers but the punch is hot and cold. Many times he reaches to try and make contact first and the overextension saps his power. Part of the problem is he is pretty raw, technically speaking. His hand placement needs some work and allows defenders to dislodge him.
With his physical traits, you would think he could drive opposing players off the ball, but we didn’t see it. Like many linemen, he struggles with leverage oftentimes standing up and losing the strength in from his lower-half. As a run-blocker, he’s more of a directional blocker than an imposing one. He is pretty proficient with combo blocks and is athletic enough to do what’s necessary in a zone-blocking scheme.
Jackson is a very intriguing prospect and should have a promising future with the right coaching. He needs some seasoning for sure and might be able to help a team sooner if he kicks inside. I hesitate to put the tag of “project” on a player, but he’s not a plug-and-play starter at left tackle.
Noah Igbinoghene – CB – Auburn
One of the Chargers’ biggest remaining needs after free agency is the outside cornerback spot opposite Casey Hayward. The team did sign a corner when they brought in Chris Harris Jr., but he figures to line up mostly in the slot. Michael Davis has been fine, but he’s a weak spot in a star-studded secondary and could use some competition. Igbinoghene could be that guy.
Igbinoghene is an impressive study especially considering he’s only played the position for two seasons. That means there are a lot of the nuances at the position he has yet to learn. The good news is that he has natural ability in spades.
One of the things you notice most with his game tape is his stickiness. He faced very legitimate talent in the SEC and almost always found himself in receivers’ hip pockets. One of the reasons is that he’s very physical at the line of scrimmage. He gets his hands all over receivers and has pretty good pop when he lands his punch, disrupting routes. This is going to be an adjustment at the next level because he’s very grabby well past five yards downfield.
I think he would help the Chargers cover the short passing game. His 5’10 frame gives him a really good matchup with shiftier receivers, and he closes space quickly. On quick passes in his vicinity, he puts the clamps on receivers getting physical at the catch point.
One of the things that both he and Davis struggle with is finding the ball when it’s in the air. One of his biggest knocks is that he can panic with his back to the quarterback which led to disappointing ball-hawking production and many flags. He’s a former wide receiver so his hands aren’t the problem, he just needs some coaching.
Igbinoghene is a decent run defender and has delivered big hits at times. He is very willing to get in and take a shot at bigger receivers and running backs. Too many times on tape however, he found himself not wrapping up and bouncing off ball-carriers. I would have also liked to see him get in on group tackles more often. Instead of assuming the other guys have it handled, get in there and rip at the football.
For someone very new to the position, he does a lot of things very well. He isn’t the tall, lanky corner that Gus Bradley normally covets so maybe he isn’t high on their Draft Board. I do think that going into a heavy Cover-3 scheme could help cover-up some of his flaws.
Similar to the first-round version of this article, if the Chargers take any of these players they’re addressing needs. Unlike with the 6th pick, these players are only borderline starters out of the gate.
Wide receiver doesn’t seem like a position of need, but it’s very thin behind Allen and Williams. The team runs many three-receiver sets and Reagor brings two things the aforementioned players lack, explosiveness and deep-threat speed.
With Jackson, it’s a little trickier. He would come in and instantly add to the talent at the position but isn’t the immediate answer at left tackle. It would be an interesting competition between him and Trey Pipkins, who’s also developing.
If they decide to go with Igbinoghene, I think it will be due to a late run on cornerbacks at the end of the first round. Unlike the previous two prospects, Igbinoghene wouldn’t be needed right away with Davis as the presumed starter. He would also get to one of the league’s best defensive backs coaches in Ron Milus and would contribute early on special teams.
This is a pretty deep draft class and Tom Telesco will have a chance to add a difference-maker with this pick. The team has a staggering amount of talent due to be unrestricted free agents. He needs players that can help the team this season, as well as building for the future. This is going to be his toughest task yet.