Tuli Tuipulotu, DL – Round 2, Pick 54, Grade: B
The 21-year-old outside linebacker had a solid rookie season and made plays for a Chargers’ defense, which had its issues.
Tuipulotu lived in opponents’ backfields as he posted 53 combined tackles, 12 quarterback hits, and eight tackles for loss. The former USC standout also had a quarterback hit in four out of his last six games. Tuipulotu was ranked sixth among rookies in sacks and was only two tackles for loss behind Texans linebacker Will Anderson Jr. (10).
With Tuipulotu having success this season as a rookie, it is the second time in the last three years that the Chargers have found a defensive stud in the second round of the NFL draft.
The Chargers will be looking for Tuipulotu to build off what he’s done this year, as the team could move on from either Khalil Mack or Joey Bosa, who have high cap hits for next season.
Daiyan Henley, LB – Round 3, Pick 85, Grade: Incomplete
The former Washington State linebacker came into the 2023 NFL Draft as one of the more athletic linebackers with upside. However, Henley didn’t make much of an impact as a rookie this season.
The 6-foot-1 linebacker spent most of his time playing special teams, as he only had 16 total tackles in 15 games. However, Henley could see an increase in snaps on defense as Kenneth Murray Jr. is an unrestricted free agent.
One could make the case that Los Angeles should re-sign Murray this offseason as they bring in a new defensive coordinator. But the Chargers’ financial situation isn’t great, and we know there are linebacker-needy teams that will pay whatever it costs for the 25-year-old.
If that happens, the Chargers will hope for a better second season from the former Washington State defender.