Culver City Observer -

By Bill Seals
Sports Reporter 

Los Angeles Chargers 2018 Seven Round Mock Draft

 

April 19, 2018



The 2018 NFL draft is less than a week away, on April 26th through the April 28th and it is time to put our best effort forward to predict whom the Los Angeles Chargers might add to their roster through the draft. The Chargers have seven draft picks, one for each round. Below is the prediction for the Chargers for the 2018 NFL Draft:

Round 1 – Pick 17

Leighton Vander Esch, Linebacker, Boise State

This is a pick that should be on the board at #17 and a player with a lot of upside. Vander Esch would fill a need as a run stuffing linebacker with the speed to cover the pass and the ability to rush the passer. He could play inside or outside. Vander Esch is 6'4", 256 pounds. He ran a 4.65 forty at the combine and had a 39.5" vertical leap. In 2017, he was 5th in the nation in tackles and was the Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year.

Vander Esch played eight-man football in high school at Salmon River High School in Riggins, Idaho. He did not have an FBS college football scholarship offer and walked-on at Boise State. He will soon be taking the next leap to starting linebacker in the NFL.

Round 2 – Pick 48

Rashaad Penny, Running Back, San Diego State

The Chargers did not address the running back position through free agency and only have two running backs on the roster. Penny would address the running back depth issue and give the offense another quality back. Penny is 5"11", 220 pounds, with 4.46 speed in the forty. Penny was named the Mountain West Conference Offensive Player of the year as well as the MWC Special Teams Player of the Year.

Penny led the nation in rushing yards (2,248) and rushing yards per game (172.9) and was second in total touchdowns (28). He also had 100- and 99-yard kick returns for touchdowns this season, giving him an NCAA-record-tying seven kick return TDs for his career. Penny also returned a punt 70 yards for a touchdown, the TD coming on the first punt return of his career.

His ability to run inside will help the Chargers, who struggled in short yardage situations last season. As he showed in the Senior Bowl, he is also a good receiver, hauling in a pass for a 73-yard touchdown reception. The Chargers struggled on kick-off returns last season and Penny could help immediately in that area.

ROUND 3 – Pick 84

Dane Cruikshank, Defensive Back, Arizona

The Chargers may need to replace Tre Boston, who is a free agent and has not re-signed with the Chargers. Cruikshank has nice size to play either corner or safety. He is 6'1", 206 pounds. He ran a 4.41 forty at the NFL combine and had a 38.5" vertical leap. He played both cornerback and safety at Arizona.

Cruikshank is from Chino Hills, California and played his high school ball at Ayala High School in Chino Hills. Cruikshank is considered very physical in the run game. He is a good tackler in space, can run from sideline-to-sideline and hits like a linebacker. He can cover a tight end or slot receiver. He can also help on special teams.

Round 4 – Pick 119

Bilal Nichols, Defensive Tackle, Delaware

A good run defender that can fit in well with Gus Bradley's 4-3 defense. Nichols is 6'3" 306 pounds and ran a 4.95 in the forty at the NFL combine and had 29 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press. Nichols played at the FCS level at Delaware. He is very quick with a good first step. He had 10.5 sacks over the last two seasons, showing that could be an effective NFL pass rusher and he can also anchor against the run.

Nichols will probably begin in the league as a back-up, but he should eventually start at DT. He played well in the post-season all-star games. In the East-West Shrine Bowl, he sacked Ohio State Quarterback J.T. Barrett, forcing a fumble that was returned for a touchdown for the only score of the first half.

Round 5 – Pick 155

Dorance Armstrong Jr., Defensive End/Outside Linebacker, Kansas

The Chargers will need to replace backup defensive end Chris McCain, who is a free agent. Armstrong is 6'3", 257 pounds and was timed at 4.93 in the forty. In 2016, he was first team All-Big 12 with 56 tackles, 20 tackles for loss, 10 sacks and three forced fumbles. A good run defender with good closing speed. As his 10 sacks indicated, he is a good pass rusher. A productive player that works hard and competes.

Round 6 – Pick 191

Joseph Notebloom, Offensive Tackle, TCU

A three-year starter. A left tackle prospect with long arms and a wide wing span. Aikins is 6'5", 309 pounds and has run a 4.98 forty. He is a developmental project with upside, but he needs to get stronger. A very bright player, who is a four-time Academic All-Big 12 honoree. A very gifted and athletic tackle prospect, but he will need time to develop.

Round 7 – Pick 251

Luis Perez, Quarterback, Texas A&M-Commerce

A two-year starter that led his team to the Division II National Championship. Perez grew up in Chula Vista, California, but did not play high school football. Amazingly, Perez walked on at Southwestern College in his hometown of Chula Vista and ended up starting at quarterback and leading the school to the conference championship.

Perez is listed at 6'2", 224 pounds and was timed in the forty at 4.80. Perez has amazing accuracy in the passing game. In 2017, Perez completed 70.6 percent of his passes for 4,999 yards, 46 touchdowns and 11 interceptions in 15 games. Perez won the 2017 Harlon Hill Award, which goes to the nation's top player in Division II. Before he took on football, Perez was one of the best bowlers in the state of California.

 

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