Cortez Broughton Jersey

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.”

Emeke Egbule Jersey

“(With) the 200th draft pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, the Los Angeles Chargers select Emeke Egbule, a linebacker from Houston.”

As soon as those words were announced last Saturday, Chargers fans from coast-to-coast frantically looked up as many videos, stats, articles and any other content they could get their hands on to learn more about their new linebacker.

After all, that’s the common protocol for every single player selected in the NFL Draft.

So, what did they find out about Egbule?

Well, he’s a 6-2, 245-pound freight train of a linebacker who has an impressive mix of size and speed. Egbule broke out with a monster senior season, setting several career-highs while notching 69 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, 2.0 sacks, two forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries, including a noteworthy scoop-and-score.

They likely saw film from his epic game against Memphis when he recorded 11 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss and a sack.

Oh, and they learned he’s a “Gift from God.”

“My name means a ‘gift from God,’” he explained to the media on a conference call. “(It’s) Nigerian.”

While his name has a deep meaning, it’s his God-given talent that really interests the Bolts.

In his first comments about the sixth-round pick Saturday evening, General Manager Tom Telesco outlined those traits that led the Chargers to select him.

“He’s a bigger linebacker, but fast and hits,” Telesco said. “He’s a run-and-hit linebacker. He’s a physical player. Again, he has a lot of special teams qualities that we need. We wanted to add to that group, add a little bit of speed, add a little bit of size. Egbule certainly brings the size — he’s about 6-2, 245. He plays the game with an aggressive tempo…He’s an OTTO (linebacker), but really, he would play OTTO, MIKE or WILL. Any of those three.”

That’s music to Egbule’s ears as he’s eager to chip in any way he can.

“You can use me anywhere,” he said. “Third down, off the edge, in coverage, in the box. It doesn’t matter. I do everything… I’m very versatile. I can do everything. I can cover. I can rush the passer. I can set the edge, play in the box. Really anything. There’s not much I can’t do.”

Egbule’s confidence stems from his athleticism, which experts noted was off the charts leading into the draft.

“That’s a big part of everything!” he noted. “You’ve got to be athletic. I feel like I’ve got more of that than most players, and it shows.”

To his credit, Egbule is taking nothing granted.

If anything, he was extraordinarily humble on draft night as he stressed he must earn a role on the team.

To that end, Egbule promises to work tirelessly to reward the Bolts’ decision to bring him aboard.

“I know special teams is going to be a big part, and I’ve got no problem with that!” he emphasized. “I know I’m going to be a backup, so I just want to get better at that and (one day) earn a starting spot.”

Easton Stick Jersey

“So, we decided a couple weeks ago we were going to draft you, it was just a matter of when.”

That’s what General Manager Tom Telesco told Easton Stick when he called him to let him know the Chargers were taking him in the fifth round.

So, why were the Bolts so enamored with their new quarterback?

Let’s start at the beginning.

Telesco and the team’s scouts spend over 12 months evaluating hundreds, if not thousands, of college prospects, providing detailed accounts of every aspect of their game. In fact, at this moment, the Chargers’ scouts are already hard at work on the 2020 NFL Draft.

Meanwhile, the coaching staff is obviously working hard during the season, so they aren’t brought into the draft process until much later. By that point, the scouts have already done the lion’s share of the work, providing detailed reports on countless players.

One of those was Easton Stick.

The North Dakota State product impressed the team throughout the entire leadup to the draft.

However, it was a late meeting with the quarterback that may have sealed the team’s decision to target Stick.

“(We liked) a lot of things (about him),” Telesco said. “He’s a great leader. He’s very smart. He’s tough. Obviously, he’s won a lot of games at North Dakota State. As a quarterback, he’s very athletic with very good feet. He can process quickly with his eyes. He has touch and accuracy. He’s a quarterback that we really dialed in on. We really like his game. We actually brought him in for a visit pretty late in the process so our coaches could spend some more time with him.”

“We sent him a packet with some things and when he came in, we quizzed him on it,” Offensive Coordinator Ken Whisenhunt said. “We did something a little bit different this time. Usually, we’ll ask them specific questions about plays in the packet. This time, we just said, ‘Draw everything that you can remember.’ Usually, it’s about three plays — three pass plays and a couple of runs. (Stick) was very impressive. It’s still on the board in (my office), the three plays that he drew up and how detailed they were. For a college football player having to learn something that’s a little bit different than what he’s done, put the time in and come back without any notice and be able to put it back up on the board was really impressive.”

Drue Tranquill Jersey

NOTRE DAME — “It’s just a waiting game. It’s like can this thing be over? Can April be here? Can I get my playbook already? Can I start learning? Can I start doing what I’ve done for the last 4 or 5 years?” said former Notre Dame football standout Drue Tranquill.

Tranquill is one of several former Notre Dame players anxiously waiting to hear his name called this week in the 2019 NFL Draft.

His path from the high school gridiron to the NFL wouldn’t have happened without plenty of perseverance and encouragement throughout his five-year journey.

He switched between three different positions-safety, rover, and finally linebacker – all while navigating an obstacle course of injuries.

Tranquill tore the ACL in his left knee during his freshman season, and just a year later, he snapped that same ligament in his right knee.

He continued to fight to get back on the field and eventually led the Irish to their first ever College Football Playoff berth in his fifth and final season. Tranquill was later honored as the 2018 Wuerffel Trophy Recipient, a Senior Bowl Participant and Notre Dame’s Rockne Student Athlete Award.

While accepting the award honoring his leadership as a two-time captain, Tranquill addressed his teammates and coaches with this line: “I want to take some time to recognize someone who doesn’t get a lot of attention around here, and that’s my dear friend Keith Penrod.”

During his time on campus, Tranquill struck up a special friendship with Keith Penrod — also known as Notre Dame’s #1 fan.

“He’s a guy that when I was going through a tough time my freshman and sophomore years with my ACL’s,” added Tranquill, “He’s a guy that just sat there after practice and would just talk to me and uplift me and encourage me.”

Keith Penrod was only given 48 hours to live when he was born with cerebral palsy, but that was over 60 years ago. In his time on Earth, Penrod has found a special way to spread his message through the Irish family.

“I think Keith is an angel from heaven and I honestly believe that because he sees things and hears things that guys need to hear at the exact moment and time that he says them,” said Tranquill. “So there have been moments in my career where I’ve just been struggling with injury, being away from my family, or going through a 4-8 season. Just all the ups and downs that have come with my experience here and he’s just been here to give me the right word, the encouragement that I need.”

Penrod helped Tranquill in his fight to get back on the field as he recovered from his knee surgeries.

Tranquill had no idea that he would eventually be able to return the favor to the Irish’s biggest fan.

Earlier this fall, Penrod was hit by a car and has spent the entire year rehabbing a broken ankle.

“He was just driving home after one of our practices and he always stays so late to hang out with us and was driving home in the dark,” said Tranquill. “Someone backed into him and broke his leg and so obviously having cerebral palsy his body isn’t in the best shape as is. His recovery process is just much longer and he’s been in the hospital all year.”

And a lot like the athletes that he counsels, Penrod has continued to fight.

He was released from the rehab center earlier this week, just in time to watch his favorite Irish football stars on their big night.

“Keith is Notre Dame because he’s Notre Dame, win or lose,” said Tranquill. “He’s Notre Dame when we’re 4-8. He’s Notre Dame when we’re 12-0. Keith Penrod has a passion for this family. He’s just the definition of a guy pursuing excellence in everything he does and looking to others and not himself.”

Trey Pipkins Jersey

COSTA MESA — Trey Pipkins’ only full college offer came from Division-II program Sioux Falls in South Dakota.

Five years later, Pipkins could be tasked with covering Philip Rivers’ blind side.

The 6-foot-7, 307-pound left tackle was drafted by the Chargers with the 91st pick in the third round of the 2019 NFL Draft on Friday.

“I’m not sure that’s completely set in, honestly,” Pipkins said about protecting Rivers. “That’s just an unbelievable honor and something that I can learn a lot from. I’m excited to get there and just soak in the advice.”

It’s unlikely that Pipkins will get to protect Rivers in a meaningful game for the upcoming season with Russell Okung penciled in as the starting left tackle. But Chargers general manager Tom Telesco sees Pipkins as a project with plenty of upside.

“It’s hard to find tackles that are tall, long and have really good feet,” Telesco said of Pipkins. “He has a lot of traits that we can develop. It’s going to take him some time. We have a good group for him to learn from, too.”

The third-round selection came as a shock to many, even to Pipkins, who was expecting to go in the fourth round or later.

Pipkins made 22 starts the past two seasons at Sioux Falls and was named a Division-II All-American last season. The Apple Valley, Minnesota, native is the first player from Sioux Falls to attend the NFL Scouting Combine.

Telesco didn’t say at his news conference if he would consider using Pipkins as a right tackle for the upcoming season. Sam Tevi struggled for most of the 2018 season as the Chargers’ starting right tackle.

“He has left tackle ability that’s another reason why he was of interest to us,” Telesco said. “They’re hard to find.”

Pipkins said he molds his game after New Orleans Saints Pro Bowl left tackle Terron Armstead.

“I had a formal interview with the Chargers at the combine, but I didn’t have a visit with them or anything like that with them after that,” Pipkins said. “I thought I did well in my interview at the combine, but I didn’t hear anything back or anything else from them. I wasn’t really sure how I did, but apparently I made a good enough impression on them.”

Nasir Adderley Jersey

Most NFL Draft prospects received scholarship offers from big-time college football programs. but that was not the case for defensive back Nasir Adderley. Adderley received three Division-I offers, with only one from an FBS school. He wound up choosing Delaware, an FCS program, over Wake Forest and Towson.

For a while, Adderley was unsure if would receive any offers because of his poor academics early on in high school, but he rebounded with solid grades as a junior and senior, affording him the opportunity to become a Division-I student athlete.

“Delaware is a great school in terms of athletics and academics and it made me who I am today, and that’s a lesson I needed to learn and I’m grateful I learned that at an early age and was able to turn it around,” Adderley said during his press conference at the NFL Combine in March. “I was able to turn it around to make a change and get into a dream school as well.”

Four years later, Adderley has evolved into perhaps the top small-school pro prospect. NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah seems to think so, ranking Adderley as the 33rd-best prospect in the 2019 NFL Draft. Other pundits have pegged Adderley as a late first-round pick. If that’s the case, he’ll be just the second first-round selection in school history.

“I would say my biggest strength is my relentlessness and my work ethic,” Adderley said. “I’m the guy that’s always doing extra work off the field. I’m the guy putting on extra weight in the weight room. On the field, you won’t have to question my effort whether I’m at special teams, corner, safety. You won’t ever have to question my effort.”

The 6-foot, 200-pound Adderley has the size and speed to play both cornerback and safety in the NFL, and he proved that as a four-year starter at Delaware, totaling 226 tackles, 13 passes defensed and 11 interceptions and earning All-CAA honors three times. As a senior, the Associated Press named him as a second-team FCS All-American.

According to Kyle Crabbs of the Draft Network, Adderley is “the latest small-school prospect to serve as a reminder that high quality football players come from every level. Adderley has high-end coverage skills and tackling, making him a desirable candidate to start in a single high role on defense. His projection would pair best in a man scheme, where he is then able to focus on prowling for the football as compared to passing off coverages. Adderley has excellent anticipation and ball skills, can be an impact starter.”

Despite playing the majority of his career at free safety, Adderley is open to playing elsewhere in the secondary. He wants to become a three-down defensive back that teams can rely on in a variety of situations.

“I’m going to play wherever,” Adderley said. “I like to play in the post. I like to come down in the box. I like the blitz. I wasn’t asked to blitz often. That’s something I feel confident I can do as well.”

Despite suffering an ankle injury midway through his senior campaign, Adderley kept playing and delayed his rehab until after the Senior Bowl. He saw the Senior Bowl as a fantastic opportunity to showcase his skills against other top talents, and afterwards he felt that his performance there helped quiet any questions that may have arisen about him being a small-school prospect.

To help prepare for the draft, Adderley has been in constant talks with a family member who knows his fair share about manning the secondary in the NFL. Adderley is the cousin of Pro Football Hall of Fame defensive back Herb Adderley, so he’s been sure to learn as much as he can before he attempts to honor the family name at the sport’s highest level.

“He’s just extremely supportive of me and he obviously gives me pointers,” Adderley said. “One of the biggest parts that he helped me with was playing corner because I had never played corner before I got to Delaware. It was new for me and he helped me out tremendously in terms of my alignments and what to look at and know where my help is. So, that transition was a lot smoother because of him.”

Jerry Tillery Jersey

The Chargers had the latest pick in the first round they’ve had in about a decade going into Thursday night’s draft, but may have still managed to come out with a very decent pick based on the circumstance.

Let’s take a look at some of the options the Chargers had on the board. The lines on both sides of the ball, particularly the interior of the defensive line, were both issues last year. After cutting ties with Jahleel Addae after an incredibly inconsistent tenure and weird season, free safety became a need. Last but not least, corner is probably a position the Chargers would like to have some insurance in, after having some injury troubles last year with Trevor Williams.

What were some of the options going into the draft? My prediction was that Jerry Tillery would be off the board and they’d have to settle for Dexter Lawrence. Boy, was I wrong there (thanks Giants!).

I liked Lawrence, and still think he’ll be a decent pro, but he isn’t the athlete Tillery is. Tillery is a little worse than Lawrence at run stopping but is undeniably way better in pass defense. One issue the Chargers faced in the AFC divisional round vs. the Pats, is that the offensive line ate Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram up.

The interior line was too weak and undynamic to the point where the Patriots only had to worry about Bosa and Ingram on the ends. Tillery fixes that to some degree, and I believe he does it better than Lawrence all around.

Jawaan Taylor is another player fans wanted, as a boost to the offensive line. Knee concerns may have ultimately dipped his draft status a bit.

Some say the team should’ve taken Taylor over Tillery, but the reason I disagree is mostly the talent that Tillery is. Telesco has always been about taking the best player over what might be a need.

Pro Football Focus has also taken a liking to this pick by the Chargers. Telesco has always tended to lean toward the analytics and high draft value, and this shows that. Falling to 28th when he was ranked seventh based on value is a nice get, almost reminiscent of the James pick.

What do the Chargers need to do for the rest of the draft? I’d say offensive line and maybe a little cornerback depth are the places to attack on the third day of the selection process. But Tillery was a fantastic start to a draft that has the opportunity to fill positions of need for the Chargers while still getting value.