6 Late-Round Sleepers Who Would Be Perfect for San Diego Chargers
In the past five years, the San Diego Chargers have drafted seven players in Rounds 5-7 that are still on the roster to this day, and five have garnered major playing time (Stephen Schilling, Andrew Gachkar, Cam Thomas, Johnnie Troutman, Tourek Williams).
A sixth-round pick by Tom Telesco last year, Tourek Williams played in 13 games last season and started six of them when the linebacking corps was hit with injuries. Nobody could have predicted that Williams would become such a valuable asset in the later rounds, but that's why general managers and scouts do extra research to find value.
Which players will hold the most value for San Diego in Rounds 5-7 in this year's draft? Here's six late-round sleepers to keep an eye on.
Brandon Coleman, WR, Rutgers
Brandon Coleman is projected as a fourth- or fifth-round pick by CBSSports.com in a deep receiver class. He leaves Rutgers tied for career touchdown receptions in school history with 20 and started all 13 games in 2013.
Coleman hovers around 6'6" and has a muscular build, making him a mismatch for most defensive backs.
The Chargers receiving corps suffered two major injuries last season, paving the way for Keenan Allen. Danario Alexander is a possibility to return from a torn ACL in the offseason, and Malcom Floyd wants to continue his career following a major neck injury, per Michael Gehlken of U-T San Diego.
Should any setbacks occur in their recoveries, however, the Chargers may want to brace themselves with another big body in the passing game.
Devon Kennard, OLB, USC
A pass-rusher will be among the Chargers' top needs in the draft, but everyone tends to forget about the importance of a run-stuffer on the outside. Jarret Johnson has done a solid job filling that role the past two seasons in San Diego, but the 11-year veteran cannot go on forever.
Devon Kennard is a projected fifth- or sixth-round selection by CBSSports.com and could come in handy on a defense that was missing all four of its starting linebackers at one point or another. Johnson, Manti Te'o, Donald Butler and Dwight Freeney were hit by the injury bug in 2013, which opened up opportunities for late-round selections like Gachkar and Tourek Williams.
Kennard could be the next guy up to get early opportunities if injuries persist in the linebacking corps.
De'Anthony Thomas, OW, Oregon
In Telesco's season-ending press conference provided by Ricky Henne of Chargers.com, the first-year GM noted that he'd like to infuse some speed offensively during the offseason. De'Anthony Thomas, a projected sixth- or seventh-round pick by CBSSports.com, racked up more than 5,000 all-purpose yards in his career at Oregon and did so with speed.
Telesco didn't specifically point out where he'd like that speed to come from on offense, but that's the glory of a player like Thomas. The former Duck lined up as a receiver, a running back and was a dangerous return man in college.
Dri Archer, OW, Kent State
Continuing along the lines of speed, Dri Archer is another player that could provide San Diego with the speed it wants on offense. He tallied nearly 5,000 all-purpose yards at Kent State with 40 touchdowns in his collegiate career.
Just like Oregon's De'Anthony Thomas, he needs the ball in his hands to be effective and specific plays tailored to his strengths. CBSSports.com views Archer as a possible seventh-round pick that could potentially go undrafted depending on how things play out during draft week.
Aaron Colvin, CB, Oklahoma
Aaron Colvin's draft stock plummeted when his agent confirmed on Twitter that his client had in fact tore his ACL during a Senior Bowl practice, per Chase Goodbread of College Football 24/7. Initially a second- or third-round pick, Colvin finds himself as a projected sixth- or seventh-round prospect, according to CBSSports.com.
Prior to his injury, Colvin was having arguably the strongest showing in Mobile, Ala. and was considered a top-50 player by Bleacher Report's Matt Miller. The Chargers will more than likely address needs in the secondary early in the draft, but Colvin could warrant a late-round selection.
Assuming San Diego takes a corner early on Day 1 or Day 2, Colvin could be selected late and focus on recovery during the offseason with no added rush to be ready Week 1.
The injury, though serious, shouldn't scare off every team. Keenan Allen was in a similar position last year with a predraft injury but ended up becoming a steal during an impressive rookie campaign.
Shamar Stephen, DT, Connecticut
Shamar Stephen is a former teammate of Chargers defensive end Kendall Reyes—the highest drafted defensive lineman in Huskies history. Following a similar path, Stephens was named a team captain in his senior season and had a productive year at defensive tackle and end with 60 tackles, 10 for loss and three sacks.
Stephen's versatility along the defensive front is a trait defensive coordinator John Pagano would welcome in his scheme, considering the success he's had with Reyes. CBSSports.com projects Stephen as a sixth-round pick in this year's draft.