Chargers Draft: 5 players to watch at their pro days on Thursday, March 23

Mar 23, 2023 - 3:19 PM
Cincinnati v Temple
Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Today is jam-packed with phenomenal pro days for scouts to take in a number of notable prospects. Alabama is your headliner with quarterback Bryce Young while other schools like Utah and Cincinnati also boast some of the top players in this year’s class.

Below are five players that the Chargers should be interested in who will hit the field today.


LB Henry To’oTo’o

After two years at Tennessee, To’oTo’o transferred to the Crimson Tide where he earned second-team and first-team honors in the SEC as a junior and senior, respectively.

To’oTo’o’s 4.62 40 a the combine was a bit underwhelming for a standout linebacker weighing under 230 pounds but he’s got a chance to improve on that number today should he choose to run again. His 32” vert and 9’8” broad were also just fine, but nothing spectacular. That’s also the way’s Lance Zierlein chose to describe To’oTo’o’s style of play. While he’s assignment sound and a consistent player, he lacks the range and explosive you want from your second-level defender.


DT Keeanu Benton

Benton was a rock-solid player in the trenches for one of the most consistent schools in the Big Ten. His 6’4, 310-pound frame was a pain for interior lineman to block and his strong punch often shocked centers on the snap. Benton secured third-team honors in the Big Ten after posting 10 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks in 12 starts as a senior.


CB Clark Phillips III

Phillips is the lone non-Senior Bowl participant on this list but don’t let that stop you from believing he’s a potential fit for the Chargers. He’s an aggressive man corner that would surely own the moniker of a “ball-playing Jessie” by Brandon Staley. He’s a bit on the small side at 5’9 and 184 pounds but he’s one of those corners that plays much bigger than his measurements.

Zierlein calls Phillips a “student of the game” who plays a very bold style of football. Nine career interceptions tells us he’s no slouch at taking the ball away, despite lacking the ideal length for a top notch corner. Of course, his aggression can lead to unwanted penalties, but the Chargers know what it’s like to have one of those types of players already in Asante Samuel Jr. but I guarantee you no one is wising they picked someone else.

Clark is already regarded as one of the top corners in this year’s draft but he could earn himself a bit more money if he can break into the 4.4s with another go at the 40.


WR Tank Dell

Dell got separation on demand at the Senior Bowl with some of the nastiest route you’ll see in 1v1s. At 5’8 and 165 pounds, he’s certainly small by NFL standards but his ability to keep defenders guessing in coverage with a wide arsenal of jab steps and crossovers will do a lot to keep him away from contact before being tackled.

He was uber-productive in his final year with the Cougars with 109 receptions for 2,398 yards and 17 touchdowns in 13 starts. More specifically, Dell scored 14 touchdowns in the team’s final nine games.

As for the negatives, his slender frame will always give teams pause in regards to how much they can rely on him to stay healthy from year-to-year. His 21 drops over the past two seasons will also make some hesitate pulling the trigger on him with a day-two pick.


LB Ivan Pace Jr.

Like Dell above, Pace is the type of player who makes enough of an impact that most teams would be wise to try and ignore his lack of size. Sub-5’10 linebackers in the NFL are extremely rare but they don’t make them like Pace. He didn’t test at this year’s combine but the film does enough to show us he’s a great athlete that plays with strength and power that will catch unsuspecting players off guard.

At the Senior Bowl, Pace was a menace against running backs in both pass-rush drills and 1v1s. His low center of gravity makes it easy to get underneath opponent’s pad levels while also helping him keep his footing when getting knocked around inside the box.

The Chargers need help at linebacker, so definitely keep an eye on pace through the rest of the pre-draft process.

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