Because of that, Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn joked that he would have to pacify defensive coordinator Gus Bradley by taking a defensive player early in this year’s draft.
“At some point, I plan to get somebody on defense,” Lynn joked after Day 2 of the draft. “My defensive coaches are about to jump off the building.”
As reader Tim Mathews asks below, I believe there’s a good chance that Lynn follows through on his promise to Bradley in April.
Should the Chargers draft focus on building an improved defense or protection of Rivers as well as run blocking support.— Tim Mathews (@HT911) January 20, 2018
A handful of game-changing defensive playmakers will be available in the first round this year, including Virginia Tech’s Tremaine Edmunds, Florida State safety Derwin James, Washington defensive tackle Vita Vea and Alabama defensive tackle Da'Ron Payne, according to ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper’s big board.
The last time the Chargers drafted a defensive player in the first round they did pretty well, selecting Ohio State defensive end Joey Bosa at No. 3 overall in the 2016 draft.
Now, let’s get to a couple more questions from this week’s mailbag:
Who is the next Trevor Williams. A player that takes a big jump— Nate Steinbronn (@Stein_89) February 2, 2018
@eric_d_williams: I think that player for the Chargers in 2018 could be defensive tackle Isaac Rochell. Selected in the seventh round of last year’s draft out of Notre Dame, Bradley likes Rochell’s length and motor as an interior pass rusher.
At 6-3 and 280 pounds, Rochell was active for three games last season, finishing with four combined tackles and a sack. Bradley compared Rochell to pass-rusher Jason Jones, whom he had while with the Seattle Seahawks.
“His length helped us out a little bit,” Bradley said. “I think that’s intriguing for us, if he can continue to build on that and be that inside rusher that provides some length, that’s a good thing.
“He’s a little bit unique because his size and his length are more like a left end -- a traditional left end. Some guys, you move inside and see how they are.”
@eric_d_williams Do you think our problems stopping the run are more of DT or LB issues?— Duncan Graham (@DuncanGraham24) January 20, 2018
What position would be more valuable to take in 1st round to fix those issues?
@eric_d_williams: The Chargers need help at both defensive line and linebacker, so it just depends on the evaluation of the coaches in collaboration with the scouts and how free agency and the draft goes in terms of player acquisition.
The Chargers played a healthy dose of five and six defensive back packages because of their struggles at linebacker in terms of health and production, so bringing in a linebacker who can cover and tackle is important.
However, Brandon Mebane and Corey Liuget are getting older up front, and the Chargers have to look at finding the eventual replacement for both players. Overall, they just need to play more consistent against the run as a defensive unit, including the secondary.