COSTA MESA, Calif. (AP) — The Los Angeles Chargers could have declared this NFL draft to be a victory after they got Derwin James in a widely perceived steal in the first round. They still spent the next two days adding a diverse collection of talent on both sides of the ball to make a solid roster even better.
COSTA MESA, Calif. (AP) — The Los Angeles Chargers could have declared this NFL draft to be a victory after they got Derwin James in a widely perceived steal in the first round.
They still spent the next two days adding a diverse collection of talent on both sides of the ball to make a solid roster even better.
Two days after the Florida State safety unexpectedly fell to the Chargers with the 17th overall pick, Los Angeles grabbed West Virginia safety Kyzir White in the fourth round Saturday with plans to turn him into a linebacker.
The Chargers then drafted UCLA center Scott Quessenberry, a lifelong Chargers fan from the San Diego suburbs. With their final picks, they landed Texas Tech receiver Dylan Cantrell and prolific Northwestern running back Justin Jackson.
"I thought we got good individuals," coach Anthony Lynn said. "They all have great personalities, backgrounds, good intangibles, but they're good football players as well."
Los Angeles chose defensive players with its first four picks, bolstering a unit that allowed fewer points than all but two teams last season. The Chargers' final three picks were used on offensive players, and all three appear to have a legitimate shot to make the roster of a unit that finished fourth in the NFL with 376.6 yards per game last season.
The Chargers' second- and third-round picks arrived in Costa Mesa on Saturday — and one of them drove there. USC linebacker Uchenna Nwosu's family lives in Carson, the suburban Los Angeles town where the Chargers play their home games at StubHub Center for the next two seasons.
"This being my city, any questions guys have, they can come to me," Nwosu said. "Where to go for good food, sightseeing or anything, I've already got those ideas in my head."
Here are more things to know about the Chargers' draft:
SWITCH IT UP
White is a big, versatile talent who had 94 tackles and three interceptions last year. The Chargers will move him to linebacker to fill an area of need, and White welcomed the switch.
"I've never played it before, but I can adjust to anything," White said. "I think it would be a good situation. I'm always up for a challenge."
Chargers general manager Tom Telesco believes White has several qualities necessary to move from safety in college to weak-side linebacker in the NFL. That's a switch that came up frequently when Telesco's former team, Indianapolis, looked to draft players for its Tampa 2 defense.
"Part of it is a mentality, and he has that mentality to come up and hit and do all the dirty work up at the line of scrimmage," Telesco said.
White is the younger brother of receiver Kevin White, the seventh overall pick by the Chicago Bears in the 2015 draft. Kevin White has played in only five games in his three NFL seasons due to numerous injuries.
Jackson is the 11th-leading rusher in NCAA FBS history after racking up 5,440 yards during his four seasons with the Wildcats. Telesco and Lynn cited Jackson's steady production, including four 1,000-yard seasons, as a primary reason to acquire him.
"Sometimes the measurables — height, weight, speed — sometimes that doesn't add up," said Lynn, a former running backs coach. "There's one thing, to me, that's hard to measure, and that's a young man's heart. And he has shown heart every year he's been at Northwestern, and his production shows that."
Lynn, a Texas Tech product, was thrilled to grab Cantrell in the sixth round. And shortly after the draft ended, Texas Tech announced that the Chargers had signed quarterback Nic Shimonek as an undrafted free agent.
After months of speculation, the Chargers did not draft a quarterback and potential heir to Philip Rivers. Los Angeles apparently will have newcomer Geno Smith, Cardale Jones and Shimonek behind center in the offseason program. The 36-year-old Rivers has started every game since 2006, and Telesco repeatedly said the Chargers are in no hurry to groom his successor. The Bolts haven't drafted a quarterback since 2013.
SO FRESH, SO CLEAN
Jones, who flew cross-country from Atlanta on Saturday morning, related the humorous circumstances around his selection. He didn't expect to be drafted until Saturday, so he went bowling with his girlfriend and other friends Friday.
"I was bowling mad hard, and my girl was like, 'Yeah, you ain't smelling the best,'" Jones said. "So I go take a shower, and I've got the suds going on."
That's when the Chargers called. He struggled to answer his iPhone with wet fingers while running up and down and up the stairs after forgetting to put on pants. When he finally got dressed and down into the living room, he was with his mother when his name was called.
The Chargers are still looking for a kickoff returner who can do better than last season's unimpressive group, although Jackson returned kicks early in his college career. Los Angeles didn't draft an heir apparent at right tackle. The Bolts would still like more depth on the defensive line. But they clearly feel comfortable about the overall makeup of their roster.