Potential Charger Prospects to Watch in Week 2

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The second week of college football is here, which means we’re back with another edition of The Scouting Notebook.

The Scouting Notebook will feature leads to watch throughout the day. While some may think it’s too early to start talking about the 2023 NFL Draft, there’s never a bad time to talk about the Chargers’ future.

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That being said, here are a handful of leads to watch in Week 2.

Appalachian State vs. Texas A&M

Time: 12:30 p.m. PT

Where to watch: ESPN2

The Chargers could continue to hunt for a nervous speed receiver this draft if DeAndre Carter and Jalen Guyton fall short of expectations. If they do, I’d bet A&M wide receiver/hybrid running back Ainias Smith will be near the top of the shopping list. Smith has the agility of a running back as a route runner and ball carrier after the catch and seems like a natural fit for the throw sweep and reverse plays currently reserved for Carter. But at 5’10”, 190 pounds, one wonders if Smith will ever be more than a gimmicky player. However, he has only been a full-time WR for a short time, and I think his ceiling is very high. He’ll get a chance to show how far he’s come against Mountaineers CB Steven Jones Jr., an equally small and wiry corner whose NFL projection is likely in the slot despite college reps on the border. LA have shown they like players with that kind of flexibility under Brandon Staley.

Other players to watch:

Appalachian State – EDGE Nick Hampton, RB Cameroon Peoples, G Cooper Hodges

Texas A&M – G Layden Robinson, CB Myles Jones, S Demani Richardson

Arizona State vs. Oklahoma State

Time: 4:30 p.m. PT

Where to watch: ESPN2

DT Nesta Jade Silvera, Arizona State

Staley has made progress in rebuilding his defense the way he wanted, but some pieces are still missing. The inside defensive line is still one of the most flexible position groups on the team. Nesta Jade Silvera, a senior transfer from Miami, would fit Staley’s model like a glove. Silvera is extremely flexible and athletic for a guy weighing 315 pounds. Effort and intensity dominate his game, and he will frequently run from sideline to sideline to stop the ball carrier. A strong showing against No. 11 Oklahoma State could put him on the map.

USC vs. Stanford

Time: 4:30 p.m. PT

Where to watch: ABC

Stanford is a tight factory and junior Benjamin Yurosek is their last hope in the NFL. Built into more of an old-school mold, Yurosek is a blocker first, then a receiver. He’s a strong line blocker thanks to a solid base and adequate strength, but that extra power comes at the expense of contracting as a road runner and receiver. However, Yurosek possesses strong hands that hold back targets in contested catch situations, and he has quite a bit of movement as a guy chasing after the catch. He’ll have a good game against USC’s Shane Lee, a transfer from Alabama who’s a significantly better cover man than Run Stopper. Lee has the explosiveness to limit what Yurosek can do in the receiving game, but Yurosek has the sand in his pants to keep Lee from affecting Stanford’s running game.

Other players to watch:

USC – G Andrew Vorhees, IDL Tuli Tulipulotu, WR Jordan Addison

Stanford — OT Walter Rouse, CB Kyu Blu Kelly, QB Tanner McKee

Oregon State vs. Fresno State

Time: 7:30 p.m. PT

Where to watch: CBSN

WR Jalen Cropper, Fresno State

The Chargers could be on the hunt for a slots receiver depending on how much they value Keenan Allen and the remainder of his $80 million contract. The team has potential after the 2024 season. If a 2022 receiver selection is promising, that may make the decision easier. Fresno State wide receiver Jalen Cropper is elusive in the open field, demonstrates a good understanding of spatial awareness when attacking the zone, and his short zone separation shows up on the tape. Cropper is notable for catching the ball away from his body, and his long arms greatly expand the throwing window. He faces Oregon State this weekend on the heels of an encouraging start to the season against Cal Poly, a contest in which he caught seven balls for 63 yards.

Mississippi State vs. Arizona

Time: 8:00 p.m. PT

Where to watch: FS1

If there was ever a time Arizona CB Christian Roland-Wallace showed up, it would be Saturday night against the Bulldogs’ Air Raid offense. The 6’0″, 200-pound splits time between the boundary and the lunge, again a plus for the Chargers, and tricks to target often in a game that will likely feature at least 50 pass attempts from Mississippi State QB Will Rogers Roland-Wallace is also a big fan of running, so don’t be surprised if he makes a few plays in the flats as well.When he’s on cover, watch for Bulldogs WR Austin Williams, a machine receiver sixth-grade slot that Mississippi State uses as a string engine. Williams is 6’3″, 205 tall, which makes him bigger than a typical slot machine body, but he plays like a true inside catcher . Think of Michael Bandy, if Bandy was four or five inches taller.

Other players to watch:

Mississippi State – C LaQuinston Sharp, IDL Cameron Young, LB Nathaniel Watson

Arizona – LB/S Christian Young, OT Paiton Fears, WR Jacob Cowing

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