Local NFL teams draft review

California football teams had a successful draft, filling several holes each respective team had.

Roman Sergi

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Kilian O’Connor
March 15, 2021

The NFL draft is one of the biggest sporting events in the United States each year. It is a chance for talent-poor teams to rebuild and for talented teams to reload. Lives are changed and the league changes. Both the San Francisco 49ers and the  Los Angeles (LA) Chargers missed the playoffs the previous year, with the LA Rams being defeated in the first round. Each team had holes they needed to fill to be able to compete with the top teams in the league. Below are reviews of each teams’ 2021 draft class.

Chargers

The Chargers class is headlined by first-round pick Rashawn Slater. The consensus second-best tackle in the class fell to the Bolts at 13. The Northwestern product was the most pro-ready offensive line prospect in this class, possessing elite pass-pro technique as demonstrated when he locked down Washington defensive-end Chase Young in college. Slater looks to add much-needed consistency to the Charger’s offensive line and will help protect star second-year quarter-back (QB) Justin Herbert.

Their other key pick was corner-back Asante Samuel Jr. out of Florida State. A name familiar to NFL fans as his father previously played in the NFL for the Patriots, Falcons, and Eagles. One of the top secondary players in this draft he projects to play slot corner in the league. He has great footwork and loose hips that will allow him to easily flow with wide-receivers (WR).

“This class is exactly what we needed,” said senior Carter Aase. “Slater is going to be great and the rest of the class is simply fantastic. We fulfilled our major needs.”

Rams

The Rams were without a first-round pick due to previous trades. So their first pick was in the second round in Tutu Atwell, WR, Louisville. Lacking a playmaker the Rams filled a need. Atwell is a true speedster and deep threat and will allow newly acquired QB Matthew Stafford to stretch the field.

Following the departures of Michael Brockers and Morgan Fox, the Rams had a hole in the middle of their defense. They filled that need by drafting Bobby Brown III, defensive tackle, Texas A&M. Likely a rotational piece to begin his career, Brown offers size and pass-rushing ability next to Aaron Donald.

49ers

After trading up to the number three pick in the draft the whole world knew they were selecting a QB. They chose Trey Lance out of North Dakota State. The talented signal-caller possesses loads of potential, particularly elite arm strength and ball security. They have a place-holder in Jimmy Garoppolo and will allow Lance to develop.

Their second pick was offensive guard Aaron Banks out of Notre Dame, filling a need in the interior of the offensive line. Similar to current 49ers guard Laken Tomlinson, Banks is a mauler with great strength.

“I think the 49ers had a decent draft. Lance has a lot of potential similar to Josh Allen,” said Carson Williams. “Banks was for sure a reach but he’s still solid. Lance is really all the class is about because a great QB changes everything for franchises.”