We will be wrapping up this in-depth look at the Chargers draft with their 6th & 7th round draft picks in this year’s draft.
The Chargers selected Safety Alohi Gilman in the 6th round, adding to their extensive roster of Notre Dame alumni, and they also selected Wide Reciever K.J. Hill, from Ohio State.
Tom Telesco has been very good at drafting late, both of these selections will likely make some sort of impact this season, which is rare for most late-round draft picks.
Alohi Gilman, S // Notre Dame University
Physicals: 5’10”, 201 pounds
40-Time: 4.60 seconds
As mentioned above, the Tom Telesco era has drafted a lot of guys from Notre Dame. They currently have 5 Notre Dame players on the roster and have drafted 6 alumni since Tom Telesco became GM in 2013.
Gilman is a Hawaii native and was born and raised in the same city as former Chargers linebacker Manti Te’o. He was a team captain of the Fighting Irish in 2019.
Gilman has great instincts while looking at his film, he has a nose for the ball and can attack and punish. He is great on run defense and can finish tackles, which is an important trait for safety’s, especially in the Chargers defensive scheme. He has a natural-born leadership trait, and that helped him become a team captain for the Fighting Irish as a Junior.
His skill set would be much better utilized at the linebacker position, and that Chargers could make the positional move, or they might keep him at safety but use him in a hybrid role.
Gilman lacks speed and size, and his build has a hard time in this modern-day era of hybrid safety. His biggest knock coming out of college is his lack of pass coverage skills. This could lead to him possibly being drafted to move positions, similar to what the Chargers did with their 4th round selection Kyzir White, who was a safety coming out of college and has turned into a starter at linebacker in Gus Bradley’s defense.
This would be the most ideal outlook for Gilman, with White’s injury issues, he could be needed to step into that role.
While this pick doesn’t make a ton of sense for the main reason that the Chargers secondary is already pretty crowded, and they may have some issues finding playing time for all of the young talented guys on the roster like Nasir Adderly, Desmond King, and Rayshawn Jenkins. The most likely scenario for Gilman is that they transition him to back up Kyzir White another safety-converted-linebacker, he has a similar build and his speed looks much better in a linebacker position.
He likely won’t see the field much on defense this year but should make an impact on the special teams unit. Any production that they Chargers can get from their 6th round draft, is of great value. Telesco loves drafting Notre Dame guys, and hopefully, this one pans out.
K.J. Hill, WR // Ohio State University
Physicals: 5’11”, 196 pounds
40-Time: 4.60 seconds
K.J. Hill falling in the draft was one of the big surprises of the 2020 NFL draft, many experts had him slatted to going the 3rd round or possibly earlier.
The Chargers selected possibly the steal of the draft when they selected him with the 220th pick in the 7th round. Hill was a well regarded Senior out of Ohio State, he holds the all-time reception record at Ohio State. He also attended the Senior Bowl, which was a common trend for the Chargers 2020 draft class.
K.J. Hill is a great route runner and has very good hands, he could be one of the few, if not the only 7th round pick that could bring an instant impact to their offense. The Chargers are lacking in receiver depth, with there being a drop off after Keenan Allen and Mike Williams. After the departure of Travis Benjamin, there is a void at the slot position in the Chargers offense.
K.J. Hill could step into the role, considering he played the slot role at Ohio State for his entire career and his reception record, that bested current Hall of Famer Chris Carter, former Ohio State Alumni. He has a similar archetype to Charger’s current star receiver Keenan Allen. Both were not widely considered for their size and speed but excelled in route running and reliable hands. They also fell significantly in the draft from their expected draft position.
Allen was projected to go in the 1st round but fell to the 3rd round. Hill was projected to go in the 3rd round and fell to the 7th round. Hill makes up for his lack of speed, which great route running and has a natural ability to get open. He also posses great reliable hands, his skill set could lead to him be utilized in the Chargers offense this season.
One of the reasons that Hill might have fallen is that he lacks the elite receiver speed that is expected from NFL wide receivers in the current landscape of NFL offenses. He ran a 4.60 second time, which is considerably slower than some of the first-round selections such as Henry Ruggs who ran a 4.27 second 40-time.
One of the other knocks on him is his lack of height, several of the scouting sights measured him in at 5′ 11″, he is listed at 6′ 0″ on the Ohio State website.
If he is used in a slot role, his size is not a big concern, and that’s where he should excel. Hill was also a part of one of the deepest wide receiver classes that we have seen to date, which might have also played a factor in him falling in the draft.
Referring back to the Chargers receiving depth, after Williams and Allen, none of the receivers on the roster have more than 27 career receptions. This means that the two receivers drafted from the 2020 class, in Joe Reed and K.J Hill could have a rare opportunity to carve out a role on the Chargers this year.
Hill is the better pure receiver, and has solid route running and hands already, where Reed still needs to work on those things, and will most likely be used as a gadget player and return man.
Hill will most likely compete with Andre Patton for the slot position, and he could be someone that you could target in fantasy football leagues particularly dynasty, here’s why. Keenan Allen’s contract is up after this season, the Chargers already have a lot of cap casualties in 2021, the first one being getting Joey Bosa extended.
As mentioned, Hill has some very similar traits to Allen, and he could possibly fill that role if Allen were to not get resigned.
This is of course hypothetical, and the Chargers would be much better off if Allen stays on the team, however, there will be some tough decisions for Tom Telesco and the Chargers brass next offseason.
Featured Image: ---