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Tom Telesco is a fairly conservative GM when it comes to making drastic trades, or any trades for that matter.
To put it into perspective, since Tom Telesco was hired in 2013, he has made a total of 5 trades, with most of them being insignificant until this year.

The last trade that Tom made was trading Dontrelle Inman for a 7th-round pick in 2017. I feel like his bolder moves this year show that the brass is confident in the current roster and plan to be in contention this year.

The trade that brought 5-time Pro Bowler Trai Turner to the Chargers was the move of the offseason, but he also made a smart trade in the draft when they moved back into the first round to select Kenneth Murray, who I will be going into detail on in this article.

Photo: AP Photo/Sue Orgocki

1st Round: Kenneth Murray, LB (University of Oklahoma)

Physicals: 6′ 2″ 241 Pounds

40-Yard Dash: 4.52 seconds


Introduction

One of the positions that the Chargers needed to fill in the draft was the linebacker spot, of course, Drue Tranquil had a fantastic season last year, but Denzel Perryman and Kyzir White have been injured and inconsistent and it has caused the Chargers’ run defense to be one of the last in the league for years.

There were several elite linebackers in the early part of this draft, with Isaiah Simmons, Kenneth Murray, and Patrick Queen. After the Herbert pick at 6, Chargers were assumed that they would go after a linebacker or offensive lineman in the second round. Then Tom was able to get a trade done with Bill Belichick, where the Chargers sent their second and third-round pick this year for the Patriots 23rd overall pick in the first round.

This is a rare trade where the Chargers were able to get a first-round pick without having to give up a first-round pick and didn’t have to give up any picks next year. With the selection, they drafted Kenneth Murray who was considered the consensus second-best linebacker in the class.


Positives

One of Murray’s greatest abilities is his sideline-to-sideline speed. He ran a 4.52 second 40-time at the combine, and while that is impressive, watching his game film he looks even faster on the field. He has a similar archetype as Denzel Perryman who the Chargers drafted a few years ago. This is looking at his build and very aggressive tackling style, he is similar, but he also possesses more speed and better coverage ability than Perryman.

He should start right away in the WILL Linebacker position in Gus Bradley’s defensive scheme, this will be alongside with Uchenna Nwosu, Kyzir White, and it looks like Denzel Perryman and Drue Tranquil will split carries at the MIKE position.

With the play of Tranquil, he will most likely play several of the linebacker positions and should be the starter at MIKE by mid-season. Murray should instantly make the Chargers defense better, and help provide support for the run defense, which has been a hole on the defense for years.


Negatives

One of the bigger knocks on Murray’s game is his ability to dissect plays. He tends to get stuck on blocks or hits the wrong hole on running plays. He can usually make up for it with his speed, but it does become an issue in stopping the run.

I’m sure the Chargers coaching staff can help him work on that. One of the other things that I saw while watching the film, is that he needs to use better tackling form. He is sometimes caught tackling at the shoulders and that can cause broken tackles. Melvin Ingram has this issue when coming into the league and the Chargers staff was able to correct that issue, so he could finish his sacks more consistently.

The negatives on Murray can be coached and corrected, and he should be an instant contributor on defense and be in the running for Defensive Rookie of the Year this season.


Outlook

Overall, Murray should be a great addition to the defense, and the Chargers should have a Top 5 defense this year if everyone stays healthy. I am hoping that Murray can solve several of the issues in the run defense and can push our defense to the next level. Tyrod Taylor’s ability to reduce turnovers, should give the Chargers defense a better field position, and make their lives easier.


He is taking the number 56, which is the number of the great former Chargers Shawn Merriman, hopefully, he has a similar impact for the Chargers defense.

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