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Los Angeles Chargers NFL Draft Fantasy Preview

Los Angeles Chargers NFL Draft Fantasy Preview
Brandon Murchison Staff Writer April 16, 2018 3:37PM EDT

The Bolts’ Projected First Round Pick could be an IDP Force

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It was yet another business-as-usual year for the Chargers in Fantasy Football. Philip Rivers, Melvin Gordon and Keenan Allen all were among the tops at their positions at the end of the year. That is expected to be the case again in 2018. Both Gordon and Allen will be top draft picks this season, and if they remain healthy, the value should be returned in similar fashion. Rivers, on the other hand, will again be drafted as a fringe QB1 but with the weapons around him you would have to expect he squeaks out yet another Top 10 finish.

It seems that the needs for the Chargers each year never changes. They need to upgrade the offensive line and find more depth for the front seven on the defensive side. Getting the o-line solidified could extend Rivers’ career and keep the window for this team open a little while longer. The help on the defensive side, if the pieces hit, could help propel this team into an AFC West crown with the other teams in the division currently going through changes.

Team Needs: OT, LB, DL

Projected Top Three Picks

First Round: Leighton Vander Esch, LB Boise State

Second Round: Jesse Bates, S Wake Forest

Third Round: Derrick Nnadi, DT Florida State

It’s all defense early for these Chargers in the 2018 draft, as the first three selections project out to be on that side of the ball. The pick of Leighton Vander Esch just feels like a pick the Chargers would make. He immediately plugs in and starts with his ability to track down and find the football. He is a big, long, athletic linebacker with sideline-to-sideline range in his tackling ability. His strength and ability to get off of blocks may need some fine tuning in his rookie season, but even with that he carries with him a very high ceiling coming into the league. Vander Esch could pan out to be a very dangerous IDP player for years to come in this defense.

Jessie Bates benefits from his versatility at the safety position. He can handle man coverage very well, as well as having plus-instincts and ball skills to make plays in zone coverage. Bates is more than capable to take it to a ballcarrier with his hitting but can also get into trouble at times in open field situations with his pursuit angles. He is a very aggressive player that has the potential to fill the stat sheets at the NFL level.

Derrick Nnadi is a player that can come in and be a very strong rotational player for the Chargers in his rookie season. He may be a tad bit undersized as a nose tackle in the NFL, but he has the ability to get off of single blocks easily and get to the ballcarrier. Even though it is not his forte, his pass-rushing skills are just good enough to cause problems for interior offensive linemen. His physical tools give him the adaptability to play either one- or two-gap schemes in the NFL, which will eventually make him a starting caliber tackle in the league.

Leighton Vander Esch featured image: AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

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