A defensive tackle for Chargers in each round of 2022 NFL draft

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The Chargers have a few positions that need to be addressed in the upcoming draft, and defensive tackle sits near the top.

Luckily, this year’s crop has starting-caliber talent from the first day of the draft until Day 3.

With that being said, here’s a tackle from each round that could fit in Los Angeles:

Round 1, Devonte Wyatt, Georgia

Wyatt’s former teammate, Jordan Davis, is a popular fit for the Chargers. But after the signing of Sebastian Joseph-Day, I believe the team could be looking for a versatile defensive lineman, with the ability to plug in at the three-technique spot because Joseph-Day played just under 50% of his snaps as a nose tackle in Brandon Staley’s 2020 Rams defense.

In two seasons as a starter at Georgia, Wyatt racked up 64 tackles, nine tackles for loss, and 2.5 sacks. At the Combine, Wyatt blew up the event with his immense athleticism, including the fastest 40-yard dash among defensive tackles with a blazing 4.77.

Overall, Wyatt is a high effort player who can contribute against the pass and run due to his snap quickness, lateral agility, and striking ability but will need to enhance his hand usage further and improve his stoutness, projecting as a starting three-technique, while also being able to shift to the 4i and five-technique.

Round 3, Phidarian Mathis, Alabama

Mathis amassed 53 total tackles, nine sacks, one forced fumble, two fumble recoveries, and two blocked passes in 2021. He received second-team All-SEC and All-American honors.

Mathis finished fifth in the broad jump (9-foot-11) among defensive tackles at the Combine. He was also a top performer in the 20-yard shuttle (4.91 seconds).

With his length, violent hands, lower-body strength, lateral agility, and ability to anchor, Mathis can create interior pressure just as well as he can defend the run at the next level, drawing parallels to Akiem Hicks.

Round 4, Thomas Booker, Stanford

Booker tallied 159 total tackles (89 solo), 20.5 tackles for loss, 9.5 sacks, eight passes defended, a forced fumble, and an interception in four seasons with the Cardinals.

At 6-foot-3 and 301 pounds, Booker wins with initial quickness off the snap to penetrate gaps and strength in his upper half, and active hands to control blockers to reset the line of scrimmage.

Booker lined up at various spots on Stanford’s defensive line, from nose tackle to five-technique.

Booker is capable of carving out a productive rotational role at the next level.

Round 5, Eyioma Uwazurike, Iowa State

Uwazurike finished his final season as a Cyclone with nine sacks and 12 tackles for loss. He had six combined sacks in his previous three seasons.

Boasting rare size at 6-foot-6 and 318 pounds with 35 1/8-inch arms, Uwazurike is a versatile lineman, having lined up at nose tackle, 3- 5-technique on the Cyclones’ multiple front, who wins with a blend of power, quickness, and length.

Uwazurike projects as a versatile rotational lineman, but he will be at his best using his strength and two-gapping ability to line up as a five-tech for the Chargers.

Round 6, Otito Ogbonnia, UCLA

Ogbonnia tallied 76 total tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks, two forced fumbles, and six passes defended in his four seasons with the Bruins.

At 6-foot-4 and 324 pounds, Ogbonnia’s time as a former shot putter shows up on the football field as he wins with brute strength and good hand usage to control and move defenders.

Ogbonnia was primarily a nose tackle in the Bruins’ defense, but he occasionally bounced out to a 3-tech. At the next level, he projects best as a two-gapping nose tackle, where he would see the field on run downs.

Round 7, Eric Johnson, Missouri State

Johnson posted 43 tackles (19 solo), 6.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, five quarterback hits, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery, three pass breakups, and three blocked field goal kicks during 12 starts in 2021.

Johnson participated in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl, where his dominant performance raised the eyebrows of evaluators to the point where he was invited to the Reese’s Senior Bowl.

On film, the 6-foot-4 and 299 pounder with 34 1/4-inch arms stands out, winning with his length, agility, power in his punch, and explosiveness off the snap. At the next level, he will be at his best eating up blocks to free others up to rush.