When news broke right before day three of the 2020 NFL Draft started that Trent Williams had been traded to the 49ers for a 2020 fifth and 2021 third, it became evident that we’d need to identify an offensive tackle that could come in and compete immediately. The problem was, the one guy who I felt could do that this season at this point in the draft came with a little bit of baggage - maybe too much for new head coach Ron Rivera to overlook.
When the pick of Saahdiq Charles came in shortly after noon, I was overwhelmed with joy!
Make no mistake about it - Charles is a VERY talented left tackle!
I had the LSU/Alabama game this past season on tape, as there was a lot of prospects playing in that contest who would be high NFL draft picks both this year and next. I was watching a lot of Alex Leatherwood and Jedrick Wills, the two bookends from Alabama who were both projected as day one picks(although Leatherwood opted to return for his senior season). The tackle that keep standing out to me during that game was Charles - who I said on Twitter that day looked better than both Leatherwood and Wills.
As I began to do more scouting on him after the season, the one thing I kept hearing about was off-field issues. Charles missed six games during 2019 for a violation of team rules. He’s since moved on and said it was “a selfish and stupid mistake”, but it remains a black eye on the otherwise exceptional prospect.
When Charles is on the football field, he’s a very good offensive tackle.
He’s got very good foot-speed and uses his athleticism to get into proper position to execute his blocks. Many have knocked him for his lack of fundamental strength at the point of attack, but I see a player who does a nice job of bringing his hips with him through contact, and in pass pro, he’s able to drop his hips over the balls of his feet and anchor effectively. In pass protection, he does an excellent job of mirroring pass rushers, and is fluid enough to ride speed rushers past the quarterback.
Below is a nice cut-up from my friend Robbie Duncan of Charles.
Saahdiq Charles sure doesn't look like a Day 3 guy to me. ♂️ pic.twitter.com/VV5fDvRfqI— Robbie Duncan (@RobbieDuncanOL) January 22, 2020
Ultimately, I feel Charles can come in and compete for the starting left tackle position this summer. Even if he doesn’t win the job out of training camp, he has some very high upside for the future.