The Chargers front office knows Philip Rivers isn’t getting any younger. They need to nail the 2019 NFL Draft to give him one more Super Bowl shot.
It’s easy to forget that the Chargers finished the 2018 regular season with the same record as the Chiefs. Unfortunately for Philip Rivers and company, their postseason run came to an ugly end at New England. General manager Tom Telesco knows his franchise needs to have a big offseason if they want to compete with the Patriots in the immediate future.
The fact that Rivers is 37-year-old gives the organization a palpable sense of urgency with all of their offseason plans. They need to sign free agents who are capable of helping the team right now. Similarly, look for the Chargers to target draft prospects capable of playing right away. They won’t totally ignore the future in the draft, but they won’t be spending high picks on players who will need multiple seasons to develop.
The Chargers don’t have any extra draft picks to work with, but they do have a selection in each round. That should give Telesco enough flexibility to add some impact players. Let’s start by examining a big body they should take with the No. 28 overall pick.
Round 1: Jerry Tillery
The Chargers defense is predicated on having a nose tackle who can wreak havoc on the interior. Corey Liuget, Brandon Mebane and Darius Philon are all defensive tackles slated to hit free agency. That means Los Angeles has to find an impact interior defensive lineman via the draft.
Tillery is the best option who will likely be available when the Chargers are put on the clock. In a dream scenario Ed Oliver would fall to them, but we can’t reasonably project that. Getting the Notre Dame defender would be a terrific consolation prize.
Specifically, Tillery projects to be a terrific interior pass rusher early in his NFL career. When you’re trying to knock off the Chiefs and Patriots, that is a huge plus for your defense. It might take Tillery a little more time to adequately stand up against the run, but his pass rush skills are too much for Los Angeles to pass up.