2022 NFL draft: Chargers Wire’s top-10 positional rankings on defense

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  • Travis Jones
    American football coach
  • Jordan Davis
    American football defensive tackle

In Brandon Staley’s first year as head coach, the Chargers made the point to add pieces around Justin Herbert.

Now, after finishing 26th in defensive DVOA, Los Angeles will look to get the pieces to match Staley’s personnel for better results next season.

Luckily, the 2022 NFL draft offers plenty of star power and depth at multiple positions on defense.

To get you prepared for who the Bolts might target this upcoming April, here’s a look at my top-10 positional rankings.

Defensive Linemen

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

1. Jordan Davis – Georgia

2. Phidarian Mathis – Alabama

3. Devonte Wyatt – Georgia

4. DeMarvin Leal – Texas A&M

5. Travis Jones – UConn

Hulking at 6-foot-5 and 333 pounds, Jones is someone who consistently resets the line of scrimmage. While he is raw as a pass rusher and will need improved technique, Jones is a very strong interior defender to push the pocket with plenty of playmaking ability against the run. He racked up 25 pressures and 21 run stops this season.

6. Tyler Davis – Clemson

7. Perrion Winfrey – Oklahoma

8. Zachary Carter – Florida

9. Haskell Garrett – Ohio State

10. Thomas Booker – Stanford

Edge Defender

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

1. Kayvon Thibodeaux – Oregon

2. George Karlaftis – Purdue

3. Aidan Hutchinson – Michigan

4. David Ojabo – Michigan

5. Travon Walker – Georgia

6. Jermaine Johnson II – Florida State

Johnson is a length and strength defender who uses it to control the point of attack in the run game. Along with that, he has a decent get-off, counter ability, and high motor to win around the edge. Johnson produced at least one sack in nine of his 12 games and racked up 14 in total for the season.

7. Drake Jackson – USC

8. Cameron Thomas – San Diego State

9. Myjai Sanders – Cincinnati

10. Arnold Ebiketie – Penn State

Linebacker

AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

1. Devin Lloyd – Utah

2. Nakobe Dean – Georgia

3. Christian Harris – Alabama

4. Chad Muma – Wyoming

Muma is a rangy, athletic linebacker whose elite run-game, tackling skills, and coverage instincts are high-quality NFL traits. He racked up 68 total defensive stops, three picks and 21 pressures for the Cowboys.

5. Brandon Smith – Penn State

6. Darrian Beavers – Cincinnati

7. Channing Tindall – Georgia

8. Henry To’o To’o – Alabama

9. Zakoby McClain – Auburn

10. Jack Sanborn – Wisconsin

Cornerback

Lsu Vs Central Michigan V1 4109

1. Derek Stingley – LSU

2. Ahmad Gardner – Cincinnati

3. Trent McDuffie – Washington

4. Andrew Booth – Clemson

5. Roger McCreary – Auburn

6. Kaiir Elam – Florida

7. Marcus Jones – Houston

One of the best kick and punt returners in this year’s class, Jones took six back to the house during his time at Troy and Houston. While undersized, he is a very good athlete who plays with balance, flexible hips, and explosive burst. Jones is very physically and mentally tough, as he seeks contact and battles on the perimeter and inside, while also being a tenacious, competitive nuisance to receivers. At the next level, he is capable of matching up with elite route-runners in the slot.

8. Derion Kendrick – Georgia

9. Martin Emerson – Mississippi State

10. Cam Taylor-Britt – Nebraska

Safety

Notre Dame Vs Purdue

1. Kyle Hamilton – Notre Dame

2. Jaquan Brisker – Penn State

3. Jordan Battle – Alabama

4. Daxton Hill – Michigan

5. Lewis Cine – Georgia

6. Jalen Pitre – Baylor

7. Verone McKinley III – Oregon

While underweight, McKinley is a competitor who has the instincts and physical tackling skills to play in the box and the speed and range to play deep. His ball skills show up not only in defending passes but also in interceptions. This season, McKinley had 77 tackles, with six for loss, and a nation-leading six picks.

8. Bryan Cook – Cincinnati

9. Kerby Joseph – Illinois

10. Markquese Bell – Florida A&M

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