Los Angeles Chargers, NFL Draft Retrospective

Los Angeles Chargers 2016 NFL Draft Retrospective

How does the Los Angeles Chargers 2016 NFL Draft class look three years later?

The Chargers were coming off an extremely poor 4-12 2015 season which left them drafting at No. 3 in the first round. Many fans and analysts had Jalen Ramsey pegged to them at that pick, but the team ended up taking Joey Bosa, a move no one has complained about to this point.

Much like the coming season, the team needed help on both sides of the line and at safety. Tom Telesco neglected the safety and defensive line spots but selected two offensive linemen (Max Tuerk, Donavan Clark) while also getting another weapon for the offense in tight end Hunter Henry.

Original Grade

Sports Illustrated: B+

Pretty solid analysis here as SI saw the great value in the picks of Joey Bosa, Hunter Henry and Derek Watt. They felt that Joshua Perry would have an impact but at the time, coming out of Ohio State, so did many analysts. Giving the team a grade of a B+ was about right for the time.

FanSided: C

A lower grade, but the analysis is still about right, other than the idea that Bosa was an “odd fit.” The Chargers were using a 3-4 defensive scheme at the time, which led many to believe that the team wasn’t looking at Bosa. No one saw them making that pick until his name was read off the card on draft night.

Draft Class

Round 1 (No. 3)

Joey Bosa

DL, Ohio State

Current Team: L.A. Chargers

Telesco felt that Bosa was the best player on the board at No. 3 and it’s difficult to say that he was wrong. Bosa was the Defensive Rookie of the Year that season and made the Pro Bowl the next. Though he missed much of the season in 2018 with an inury, he still has 28.5 sacks in three seasons.

Round 2 (No. 35)

Hunter Henry

TE, Arkansas

Current Team: L.A. Chargers

It was hard to believe that Henry was still on the board with this pick. It’s clear he has a bright future, even if he missed the entire 2018 regular season following a torn ACL. He catches just about everything thrown his way and can be dominant in the red zone.

Round 3 (No. 66)

Max Tuerk

C, USC

Current Team: L.A. Chargers

Arguably the worst pick ever made by Telesco, Tuerk never played in a game for the Chargers and is no longer in the league. Injuries followed by a league-mandated suspension for violating the NFL’s policy against substance abuse brought an abrupt end to his career.

Round 4 (No. 102)

Joshua Perry

LB, Ohio State

Current Team: Retired

Another pick that left much to be desired, Perry never proved he was worthy of playing time with the team and was released the following season. He recently retired due to concerns over concussions.

Round 5 (No. 175) 

Jatavis Brown

LB, Akron

 

Current Team: L.A. Chargers

Brown exploded with a tremendous rookie season. He hasn’t been able to get back to that level of play in Gus Bradley’s system, but he still has plenty of promise and could really become an impact player for the team.

Round 6 (No. 179)

Drew Kaser

Punter, Texas A&M

Current Team: Houston Texans

Kaser kicked the ball well for the Chargers and looked like a guy who would be with the team for many years to come. He ended up being released in the 2018 season because the team couldn’t make field goals or extra points and, as the team’s holder on kicks, Kaser became the scapegoat.

Round 6 (No. 198)

Derek Watt

FB, Wisconsin

Current Team: L.A. Chargers

Many teams don’t use a fullback anymore, but this was a good pick because of what it did for Melvin Gordon. Gordon had a rough rookie season but that changed in a hurry the following year as he ran behind his former college teammate, Watt.

Round 7 (No. 224)

Donavon Clark

OT, Michigan State

Current Team: Free Agent

Injuries kept Clark off the field and the team cut ties with him last summer. He never contributed in a regular season game but as a late seventh-round selection, not much was ever expected out of him.

Retrospective Grade

Landing players such as Bosa and Henry made this a draft class that will have a lasting impact on the team. Both Perry and Tuerk bring the grade down from where it could (and should) be, but finding a solid contributor in Watt in the sixth round counts for something.

After such a poor season, the Chargers needed to hit on some picks in order to turn things around. The selections of Bosa and Henry are pieces that the team can build around and in the case of Bosa, one that has completely transformed the defense. If better selections were made in rounds three and four, there’s no telling how good this draft could have been for the team. Still, all in all, most Chargers fans will take it.

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