How Junior Colson fits with the Los Angeles Chargers

With the 69th pick in the 2024 NFL draft, the Los Angeles Chargers selected Michigan linebacker Junior Colson. Colson had 95 tackles, two tackles for loss and two passes defended in 2023.

Former Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh gets his guy.

Harbaugh recruited Colson when he was coming out of high school, and now has a chance to continue coaching him in the NFL. Harbaugh is building the Chargers the same way he built Michigan: obtaining tough players who play with a chip on their shoulder.

Colson was my top linebacker in this draft due to his ability to stuff guards in the run game. It’s rare to find guys who can thump between the tackles and still drop into coverage, but Colson fits the bill perfectly. He is a rare athlete who has great size and length for the position while still being able to change directions and track down ball carriers. He is surprisingly good in man coverage and can break on the ball in zone, which means he is a three-down player at the next level.

The other aspect of Colson’s game that will help him transition is his toughness. Colson played the last three games of last season with two broken hands and still put on admirable performances. To get through the AFC playoffs, the Chargers will likely need to play a winter game outdoors in Kansas City, Buffalo, Cincinnati or Baltimore, which means frigid weather. Most modern defenses are trending away from the bruising style that tends to win in the cold, but Colson fits that mold perfectly. He has experience playing in Michigan, so temperature will not be an issue, and his toughness will be crucial for dealing with relentless rushing attacks.

The Chargers went into the draft with a need at linebacker, so the expectation is he starts Week 1. Los Angeles’s defense has a couple of superstars, but it lacks a glue guy in the middle who can clog up rushing lanes and hold his own in coverage. Of course, the Chargers play Travis Kelce twice a year, so Colson will be tossed into the fire early. It wouldn’t surprise me if Colson ends up leading the Chargers in tackles this year.

Story originally appeared on Wolverines Wire