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Team Needs: WR, DE, OG
Projected Top Three Picks:
First Round- Malik Hooker, S Ohio State
Second Round- Zach Cunningham, LB Vanderbilt
Third Round- Isaac Asiata, OG Utah
As the Chargers enter this year’s draft, their selection at seventh overall could go several different directions. With the durability concerns of WR Keenan Allen, I could see the Chargers going with Clemson’s Mike Williams at this spot to provide QB Philip Rivers with more options to work with in the passing game. Having a need at pass rusher, Tennessee DE Derek Barnett could be a fit here as well.
However, I see the Chargers going with the best player available and selecting Malik Hooker, the ball-hawking safety from Ohio State. Hooker is a playmaker, and possibly one of the top three players in this draft. Falling to the seventh spot makes Hooker the no-brainer selection. He will immediately improve the backend of the Chargers defense, and allow the front office to focus on the front seven for the remainder of the draft. If you followed the Chargers last season, you’ll know the defense could not hold leads and ultimately cost them a shot at contending for a playoff spot. The second-round pick of Cunningham will give them a situational LB to rotate in and out to keep the legs of the defense fresh.
You can imagine that Rivers will be pushing for help along the offensive line after taking a beating for much of the 2016 season. If given time, Rivers has proven he will provide Fantasy owners with top five production. With the return of Allen, coupled with the emergence of Tyrell Williams, Rivers has a pair of solid receivers to work with, but the health of Allen remains a major question. If he plays a full season, Allen can be a top 10 Fantasy wideout, with Williams going into the lower tier of WR2s. A healthy duo of Allen and Williams, along with a defense that will still give up points, Rivers will find himself drafted among the top 10 QBs come draft time.
Coming off a rookie campaign in which he failed to score a TD, Melvin Gordon lived in the end-zone this past season and became one of the biggest Fantasy breakouts of 2016. His numbers can improve if Chargers to bring in at least a couple of lineman in the draft to continue building towards being a more balanced attack. The rushing attack will now be squarely on the shoulders of Gordon after the departure of Danny Woodhead (Ravens). Woodhead leaves a void in the pass catching department, which could be taken up by Gordon, increasing his value in PPR formats.
Gordon has the potential to finish the season among the top Fantasy backs, yet he shouldn’t be taken too early. As of now, I can see Gordon selected among the top ten backs, which would project him in the middle of the second round.
Passing Offense- 262.4 YPG (8th)
Rushing Offense- 94.4 YPG (26th)
Points Per Game- 25.6 PPG (9th)
Top Fantasy Performers:
QB- Philip Rivers, 250 points
RB- Melvin Gordon- 199 points
WR- Tyrell Williams- 142 points