Now that the major free agent signings have been finalized, the Last Word on Sports NFL department will be looking at the top three needs for each team heading into the 2017 NFL Draft. Today, the Los Angeles Chargers are the focus. The Chargers have the seventh pick in the draft and general manager Tom Telesco will look to bring the Chargers back into AFC West contention. Here are the Chargers top three needs heading into the 2017 NFL Draft.
Los Angeles Chargers 2017 NFL Draft: Top 3 Needs
Of the top three needs, offensive line is most important. The Chargers play in a very talented and competitive AFC West. With pass rushers like Khalil Mack, Von Miller, and Justin Houston, the Chargers need to upgrade the offensive line. Free agent signing Russell Okung might work at left tackle. Right tackle is a different story. Joe Barksdale is set to start, but there are plenty of upgrades available in the draft. Offensive line needs to be addressed in order to keep an aging Philip Rivers healthy, and to jumpstart a rushing attack that ranked 26th in 2016.
Cam Robinson out of Alabama was declared the best tackle early in the draft process. Robinson might see a position change to guard at the next level. Either way, picking him would upgrade the offensive line. Also, Ryan Ramczyk has been gaining momentum as the draft approaches, and the Wisconsin lineman could fit at right tackle.
Keenan Allen is an explosive playmaker, and dangerous when on the field with Philip Rivers. The only problem is that Allen is seriously injury prone. Tyrell Williams broke out with over 1,000 yards in 2016. Depth at the position is weak and Los Angeles needs more weapons if they want to compete in their division. The Chargers need to add another outside weapon for Rivers in order to maximize the few years he has left in the NFL.
Corey Davis and Mike Williams are two wide receivers that should be available when the Chargers pick in the first round. Both players have the ability to take the top off of defenses and at any time can put six points on the board. Davis is the more polished player, but both men have the skill sets to be stars at the next level. Los Angeles might not be able to resist taking one of them.
After the loss of safety Eric Weddle, the back end of the Charger defense suffered. Jahleel Addae is currently the only noteworthy safety on the roster after agreeing to a four-year contract. The Chargers rushing defense finished the season ranked tenth, while the passing defense was 20th. Overall, the total defense was 16th overall. One player can help that average defense become something more.
Jamal Adams out of LSU and Malik Hooker out of Ohio State are the top safety prospects in this year’s draft. Hooker is known for his ball-hawk style of play. He intercepted 7 passes in 2016. Los Angeles could plug Hooker in at free safety and be very happy about it.
At LSU, Jamal Adams was a man known to do it all. Adams ended his three-year college career with 209 total tackles, 18.0 tackles for loss, 2.0 sacks, and 5 interceptions. Adams can play either safety spot and be an upgrade over the current players there. However, Adams and his skillset work best at strong safety. Either pick would improve the Chargers tremendously.