To add on to their competitive momentum from last season, the Los Angeles Chargers acquired five defensive players and two players on offense in the 2019 NFL Draft. Their draft class includes three linemen, two linebackers, one quarterback and one safety.
The franchise hosted a Draft viewing party for their fans at Santa Monica Pier. The fans cheered and celebrated as the Chargers’ first-round pick, Notre Dame defensive tackle Jerry Tillery, was announced.
Tillery expressed how Notre Dame is where he learned and fell in love with the game.
“I’m excited to get in and learn,” Tillery said. “I feel like I got a lot to learn about this game, to grow my game and skill set as a player.”
During his senior season, Tillery made 4.0 sacks for 20 yards against Stanford. In 2017, he was the Moose Krause Lineman of the Year.
Several Chargers players made an appearance at the Draft Party, including 2017 first round draft pick Mike Williams, corner Desmond King and running back Austin Ekeler. Williams explained why he chose to stay home on his Draft day.
“I wanted to spend Draft day with my family and friends,” Williams said. “Those were the people who was with me since I was a kid.”
The Bolts’ second round pick was Delaware safety Nasir Adderley. During the 2018 season, he made 48 solo tackles, four interceptions and seven pass breakups.
Offensive tackle Trey Pipkins became the first player from the University of Sioux Falls to go to the Scouting Combine and ultimately became the Chargers third-round pick. He helped the Cougars to a 37-11 game record during his time there.
“I really don’t think draft picks where you get drafted or when you get drafted is a big deal, but it’s about the opportunity,” King said. The Chargers selected him in the fifth round of the 2017 Draft. “Once you get the opportunity what you can do with it.”
In the fourth round, the Chargers choose Notre Dame linebacker Drue Tranquill. He is the 2018 National Football Foundation National Scholar-Athlete who made 9.0 tackles for loss for 37 yards and 3.5 sacks for 24 yards this season.
The Chargers chose a quarterback in the fifth round, showing their trust in 15-year pro Philip Rivers while having an eye on their future. North Dakota State signal caller Easton Stick led his team to a 49-3 overall record during his college career. With 8,693 passing yards, he is the career record holder in that stat at North Dakota State.
Chargers fan Nichelle Travis believes that drafting a quarterback would be a good move to maintain a strong offense after Rivers retires.
“The great news is that he’s in excellent shape and he’s gonna be with us for a few more years,” Travis said. “But I would hate for us to have to begin rebuilding once he’ done.”
Houston linebacker Emeke Egbule became the Bolts sixth-round pick. Egbule is fifth in the nation in fumble recoveries with three and made a season-high of tackles against Memphis in November.
Ekeler, who had 260 rushing yards and 279 receiving yards during his rookie season, noted that the new additions must be ready to do everything they can when called on to step up for the team.
“Put your head down and grid,” Ekeler said. “Nothing else matters besides get this job.”
In the final round, the Bolts acquired Cincinnati defensive tackle Cortez Broughton. During his time in college, he made 76 solo hits, 27.5 tackles for loss for 111 yards, and 10.0 sacks for 73 yards.
Fans came clad in Bolts gear to the viewing party, elated to meet some of the players. A highlight for Williams’ season was against the Kansas City Chiefs when he made three touchdown. Longtime fan John Majors loved that game as well
“It was that Thursday Night Football game,” Majors said.“I jumped from the couch—literally—watching that game.”