Draft season kicks into high gear next week, with both the East-West Shrine Bowl and Reese’s Senior Bowl scheduled to be played in the following days. These events are widely regarded as the official beginning of draft season for NFL teams and media.
Here are six defensive players to keep an eye on for the Chargers in Frisco, TX.
CB Renardo Green, Florida State
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The Chargers’ cornerback room will see a slight makeover under their new regime. Especially with Michael Davis set to be a free agent, Los Angeles needs more playmakers at the position, and Green, who had a conference-leading 14 passes defended, fits that billing. Green is a good athlete who plays with plus press coverage skills and shows the ability to mirror and match receivers’ routes down the field.
EDGE Gabriel Murphy, UCLA
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The futures of Joey Bosa and Khalil Mack with the Chargers remain to be seen. But regardless, they need to add more young talent to the positional room. While Laiatu Latu drew most of the national spotlight, Murphy still played at a high level, finishing with 61 pressures compared to Latu’s 62. Murphy has innate pass-rush athleticism, burst and relentlessness to get after quarterbacks on a consistent basis.
S Dadrion Taylor-Demerson, Texas Tech
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Alohi Gilman will be a free agent and former third-round JT Woods has been nonexistent in his first two seasons. Taylor-Demerson is an exceptional athlete with great range, closing speed and instincts to read the quarterback and make plays on the football. Taylor-Demerson was top-10 in the Big 12 with four interceptions in 2023. He finished his career with 224 tackles, 10 interceptions, 33 passes defended and two forced fumbles.
LB Steele Chambers, Ohio State
Kenneth Murray is set to be a free agent. Eric Kendricks, who struggled in his first season with the Chargers, could be a cap casualty. Chambers, the former running back, has an excellent blend of speed, insticts, and movement skills to deploy at the position. Over the past two seasons, he amassed 160 tackles, eight tackles for loss, two sacks and three interceptions.
DT Logan Lee, Iowa
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Sebastian Joseph-Day was released this past season. Austin Johnson and Nick Williams will be free agents. The Hawkeyes had one of the best run defenses in the nation this past season, giving up only 3.1 yards per carry and one of the primary reasons they had the success they did was because of Lee. Lee is a strong run defender who uses strength, power, and some heavy hand techniques to be effective at the point of attack.
CB M.J. Devonshire, Pittsburgh
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Despite being 5-foot-11, Devonshire has great length (33 3/8-inch arms). Those long arms are a plus at the catch point to disrupt receivers and throwing lanes. Devonshire finished the 2023 season with 32 tackles, four interceptions (one returned for a touchdown), and ten passes defended. According to Pro Football Focus, he allowed a 47.4 completion percentage when targeted by opposing quarterbacks.