Los Angeles Chargers' 2018 NFL draft needs, prospect fits
In the build-up to the 2018 draft, USA TODAY Sports will take a look at each NFL team's situation and needs.
Los Angeles Chargers
1: The Chargers' run defense ranked second-to-last in the NFL with more than 131 rushing yards allowed per game. And while linebacker Denzel Perryman is a budding star, he has trouble staying healthy, and the Chargers need more talent around him and the team’s potent pass rush duo of Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram.
Advice: Defensive coordinator Gus Bradley loves athletic linebackers (see Jacksonville’s Telvin Smith, or Seattle’s Bobby Wagner), making Alabama’s Rashaan Evans or Boise State’s Leighton Vander Esch potential first-round fits at No. 17.
2: While the Chargers offensive line certainly will get a boost from the free agent addition of center Mike Pouncey and the healthy return of 2017 second-round pick Forrest Lamp, the right tackle spot could be in line for an upgrade. There’s a chance Lamp could move from guard to tackle, but the draft might be a better spot to draft a new option for the right side.
Advice: Philip Rivers would have to be thrilled if the Chargers use their first-round pick on a tackle – especially if they could grab Notre Dame’s Mike McGlinchey.
3. The Chargers haven't taken a quarterback before the fifth round since they swapped for Rivers in 2004. With the longtime starter clearly in the twilight of his career at age 36, the team needs to draft his successor. Signing backup Geno Smith isn’t enough to address the position in the long term.
Advice: Given a potential run on quarterbacks and more pressing needs elsewhere, it seems unlikely the Chargers would draft a passer with the No. 17 pick. But they have been one of the teams to show interest in Louisville’s Lamar Jackson, who could land in a perfect situation to develop behind Rivers. Later-round options could include Washington State’s Luke Falk or Richmond’s Kyle Lauletta.
Follow Lindsay H. Jones on Twitter @bylindsayhjones.