Chargers general manager Tom Telesco has had a knack for finding Day 3 gems, whether it’s linebackers Kyzir White and Jatavis Brown or cornerback Desmond King.
This year’s haul brought some promising players, but the one who has a chance to contribute in a huge way, outplay his draft slot and be the notorious late-round gem is seventh-round pick Cortez Broughton.
Addressing the interior part of the defensive line was one of the main focuses coming into the draft. Los Angeles took DT Jerry Tillery right off the bat with its first-round selection and waited until its last pick to snag Broughton.
Broughton was seen as a fifth- or sixth-round prospect throughout the pre-draft process. It’s obvious that the league thought differently on him than many media pundits, given has actual draft spot.
A four-year starter for the Bearcats, Broughton played up and down the defensive line over his college career. The first couple seasons were puzzling because he primarily played off the edge, which for him appeared to be out of position and the statistics showed.
Thanks to a defensive scheme change in his senior year, Broughton broke out as an all-conference defensive tackle in 2018. He topped his personal career-best marks in tackles for loss (18.5) and sacks (7.5). The former Cincinnati product then proceeded to shine at the East-West Shrine Game, which is where he caught the attention of the Chargers’ scouts.
A combine snub, Broughton didn’t have the opportunity to showcase that in front of the copious amount of scouts. Instead, he waited until his school’s Pro Day. He didn’t disappoint, amassing a 4.98 40-yard dash, 1.77 10-yard split, 33.5-inch vertical, 113-inch broad jump, 7.65 three-cone drill and 4.57 short shuttle.
That athleticism was evident on film. The name of the game for the 6-foot-2 and 290-pound defensive tackle is his powerful first step. He is quick off the snap to penetrate through gaps and invade the opponent’s backfield.
Broughton has a powerful upper body and heavy hands to dispose of blockers at the point of attack. Here, is playing off the edge where he throws a vicious hump move on the right tackle.
Broughton doesn’t only possess a strong upper half, his lower body strength is evident to work his way through contact where he lives for bullying blockers into the laps of the quarterback.
Outside of the positives, there are things are Broughton will need to work on. He needs some polish by using his hands more as a pass rusher and run defender to get together a game plan as opposed to relying purely on initial quickness. It will make it easier by keeping his chest clean at the next level.
Along with that, the former Cincinnati product will need to be more consistent at playing with lower pads. He can play upright and narrow quite often, which will get him washed out of plays.
With Los Angeles being thin at the defensive tackle position, Broughton should have no problem earner playing time early on. It’s unlikely that he will be a starter in 2019, but he should be a rotational player and key interior defender in his second season.
If Broughton does indeed unlock his full potential, we will be looking back at this with the words, “Telesco did it again.”