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Two Former Early Draft Picks Could Be Gone Under New Regime

With every regime change, there is plenty of overhaul to be done, especially with former draft picks. The Los Angeles Chargers are now up to bat in that department.
Chargers Draft Picks

With every regime change, there is plenty of overhaul to be done, especially with former draft picks. The Los Angeles Chargers are now up to bat in that department. Former General Manager Tom Telesco has had his fair share of recent misses, which has led to his firing. New General Manager Joe Hortiz and Head Coach Jim Harbaugh are now here to clean up the mess made by Telesco. Who are some draft picks who are still under contract that may be cut or released in hopes of upgrading their respective positions?

Watch – Chargers Running Back Target

3rd Round Draft Pick: JT Woods – Reaching for Speed Doesn’t Always Pan Out

JT Woods is the first of the two draft picks mentioned in this list. He was the highest and most recent to be drafted. A third-round selection in 2022, Woods has done nothing in the Powder Blues. He is now going into year three with just 91 total defensive snaps to his name.

When Woods was coming out of Baylor, he was highly touted for his range, speed, and ball skills. This was enough to give him a draftable grade, even though his light frame made him an awful tackler. Many had Woods ranked as an early day three selection. This makes Telesco’s choice to select him at least a full round earlier than projected even worse. Fast forward to year three, Harbaugh could easily look at this selection and see him as a lost cause. There are plenty of options to replace Woods on the roster both in free agency and in the draft.

The Case For Athletic Safety to Return

There is a chance to see the former day-two draft pick to come back for year three with the bolts. To start, his athleticism is an outlier in the Chargers safety room. Yes, you have Derwin James, but his usage is more for closer-to-the-line of scrimmage duties. Woods brings a rangy free safety role to the Chargers that they have desperately needed since Tre Boston left in the 2017 off-season. The former Baylor product has yet to bring that- but has the skills to do so.

Chargers need a third safety in Jesse Minter’s defensive scheme. He plays plenty of formations that include three safeties, and the free safety role is crucial. Furthermore, with Alohi Gilman leaving for free agency (could very well return to the Chargers) the hole at safety grows even larger. Combine this with plenty of depth likely to leave as well, Woods may need to stay on the roster just to fill out the team.

4th Round Draft Pick: Chris Rumph II – Rushing the Passer is a Big Man’s Game

Chris Rumph II was another player who had the traits to become a strong selection. As a fourth-round draft pick, the Chargers hoped he would bring value as a depth edge rusher. In a perfect world, he could also become a valuable starter. Both have yet to happen.

Draft Profile

Coming out of Duke, Rumph II was projected to be a day-two selection, so getting him in the fourth seemed like a draft pick. Though he has not produced like a day two, or even a fourth-round selection should have, there was a reason for his grade being high.

Rumph II’s father was an NFL edge/outside linebacker coach, now residing at Clemson as their defensive ends coach. This obviously had a big impact on his son, as his pass-rush arsenal showed up on tape at Duke. The ability to set up counters while having a strong pass rush plan led to Rumph II to win against college tackles. A veteran-like pass rush plan, a father as a coach, good production, and a very strong motor- why has Rumph II not worked out in Los Angeles?

Where Did it Go Wrong?

It is really as simple as him being very underweight. Rumph II’s RAS is 5.11, with a VERY POOR size grade. Lack of size has led the former Blue Devil to get bullied by NFL tackles in the run game. Even in the passing game where he was supposed to be a contributor, he was also very disappointing.

In 2022, Rumph II’s second season, which was his most productive and healthy year, stacks up awfully to the rest of the league. With EDGE players with at least 300 snaps (the exact amount Rumph II played in 2022), the undersized defensive end ranked 107/114 in defense grade. Furthermore, he ranked 104/114 in pass rush grade and 101/114 in rush defense grade.

You can argue that picking out his best statistical year is not reflective of his current play. Even in 2023 on a third of the snaps, Rumph II ranks 106/145 in defense grade. An improvement yes, but also playing a third of the snaps can also make this much more volatile. Rumph II also suffered a fractured foot in pre-game warmups in 2023.

The new regime can see a player who has not produced outside of the preseason and is coming off a pretty large injury and see an easy cut. As an added bonus, Cutting the former draft pick would give the Chargers 1.05500 million more in cap space. Every last bit counts.

Rumph Gets Over the Humph –  The Case To Stay in Los Angeles

Chris Rumph II now gets a chance to rehab his foot and put on weight to hopefully finally get to the proper bulk that he needs to be to compete at the NFL level. This is genuinely the main thing that is stopping him from at least being a valuable rotational edge rusher.

To continue, the Chargers are likely to overhaul the EDGE room anyway, cutting or trading one of Joey Bosa or Khalil Mack. Combine this with Justin Hollins likely to leave in free agency, this position room would be barren. Keeping Rumph gives an experienced rusher who is familiar with the team and can at the very least be an okay EDGE4 and special teamer. The option lies in the hands of this new regime.

Main Photo Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports


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