The 2019 NFL Combine is near. The event is a useful tool for player evaluation, and some teams put more stock in it than others. It is a big opportunity for prospects to showcase their athleticism and skillset through a series of tests, including the 40-yard dash, vertical jump, broad jump and on-field drills. They will also take part in interviews with teams.
With that, we have compiled a list of 15 players Chargers fans must watch in Indianapolis this week that Los Angeles could be targeting in the 2019 NFL draft.
The right tackle, and eventually left tackle position, needs an upgrade. Dillard would provide a stout pass protector. On film and at the Senior Bowl, he rarely got beat around the edge due to his silky smooth footwork and core power. He should test well, which could help his draft stock, solidifying his first-round status.
Despite grading out as a third rounder, Cajuste’s basketball background will likely help his case to go within the first two rounds. The athleticism is evident. Cajuste plays with long arms, coordinated feet and body movement skills in pass protection and is reliable in space. His medicals will be huge, as he has dealt with multiple knee injuries in the past.
Like Cajuste, McGary has a basketball background, and it shows on film with his quickness and flexibility and how comfortable he is on his feet. Standing at 6-foot-7 and 323 pounds, McGary’s body fat is sitting at 13 percent. Pay attention to his jumping numbers, where he has had a vertical jump of 36 inches and broad jump at around 9-foot-8.
Howard had quite the journey the past five seasons, transitioning from a high school quarterback to a tight end and now a top small-school offensive tackle. Despite not playing against top-tier talent, Alabama State played Auburn this past season and at the Senior Bowl last month, where Howard was dominant. With experience at both tackle positions, Howard is an athletic player that’s quick to beat edge rushers to the spot, and uses his length to keep them at bay.
Wren stands at a 6-foot-4 and 315 pounds. He fared well against the top interior offensive linemen in Mobile, AL. This past offseason, Wren also posted monstrous weight room numbers for the Sun Devils, squatting 600 pounds and bench-pressing 400. One of the bigger risers, it’s unlikely that Wren slips past the third-round in April and could fill a void for the Chargers, as they could be in need of a three-technique.
It doesn’t come around that often where you see someone standing at 320 pounds doing back-flips. Prior to the Senior Bowl, Saunders showed the world that he’s capable of doing so. On the field, though, he’s agile, quick and powerful and he strikes me as a player that should test very well. Saunders projects best as a nose tackle, where he would be able to replace defensive tackle Brandon Mebane.
Lawrence isn’t going to offer much as a pass rusher, but he is capable of eating up space to allow other members of the front seven to defend the run. For weighing over 340 pounds, Lawrence moves like a player that’s 80 pounds lighter. Lawrence was clocked at 4.95 second 40-yard dash and 1.70 10-yard split. His brute strength that’s shown, as he bullies blockers in the backfield will be showcased with his bench press, where he should post close to 40 reps.
Mack started out his post-collegiate and pre-draft process by being invited to the East-West Shrine Game. The Texas A&M product dominated, which landed him in Mobile, AL for the Senior Bowl. From there, Mack produced one of the better weeks among the interior defensive linemen.
Mack doesn’t have the longest arms, but he possesses power like none other to get into the backfield to stop the run or disrupt the quarterback. Mack’s lack of arm length and pure strength should show up on the bench press, and he should be among the better times in the 40-yard dash for his position.
Linebackers that can defend the run, blitz the quarterback and cover positional players are being prioritized. For the Chargers, that should be the case, as they seek Denzel Perryman’s eventual replacement. Bush’s measurements won’t stand out since he’s on the smaller size for the position (5-foot-11 and 222 pounds), but he plays much bigger than the numbers suggest. The former Michigan product will blow up the on-field drills, as he displays phenomenal movement skills, change of direction and flexibility.
Hanks is a converted safety that manned the middle of the defense for the Aggies. The former Aggie won the Senior Bowl weigh-ins with his chiseled frame at 6-foot-2 and 234 pounds. Hanks should be one of the winners at the event, especially on the field, as his straight line speed is on another level when defending the run. Hanks reminds me of 49ers’ Fred Warner, and I believe he should be a top-100 selection.
Johnson is a converted wide receiver who possesses a tall, long frame NFL teams covet in their cornerbacks (6-foot-3, 199 pounds). His cover and tackling technique are still a bit rough around the edges, but his size, fluid movement ability and speed are all positive traits. His game translates well to defensive coordinator Gus Bradley’s Cover 3 scheme, too. Johnson will likely excel at the positional drills, and should put up a good 40-yard time. He would make a solid Day 3 option.
Like Johnson, Layne is a converted wide receiver. He isn’t the fastest player and won’t run an outstanding 40-yard, but his tape showed a player that uses his length to disrupt the catch point, which should translate well to the tracking and ball-catching drills. The former Michigan State product has the makings of a perfect outside corner for the Chargers.
The Chargers could look to move on from Jahleel Addae, making there a need at the free safety position to compete with Rayshawn Jenkins and Jaylen Watkins. Worthington, a player with versatility to offer at the position, will likely suit best as a single-high defender. He has long strides, excellent range and body control to cover ground. His leaping ability should be evident when he completes the vertical jump.
Los Angeles could take a hard look at another former Pac-12 safety. Blair also projects best as manning the deep part of the field. Blair has a tweener frame, standing at 6-foot-3 and 180 pounds, but his ability to play the position is fascinating. Blair has the long speed and acceleration to go from 0-100 immediately. His athletic testing should catch the attention, primarily in the 40-yard dash.
Former Ohio State wideout Parris Campbell should be on the Chargers radar in the middle-late rounds, if they elect to move on from wide receivers Travis Benjamin and Tyrell Williams.
The six-foot, 208-pound wideout showed breakaway speed to burn cornerbacks week in and week out. His wheels will be on full display in Indy as well as his leaping ability. This past offseason he posted a vertical jump of 40 inches and broad jump of 11-foot-3.