14. DJ Reader
Previous Team: Cincinnati Bengals
Future Team: Los Angeles Chargers
DJ Reader is considered one of the best defensive tackles in football, especially when we’re looking at the interior linemen. He plugs up the middle like Vince Wilfork used to, and teams find it incredibly hard to get a rushing offense going against the Bengals (at least prior to last year’s disaster they did). He has elite football IQ, putting the team’s defense in a position to succeed.
It’s hard to see the Bengals letting him go, but he is going to be on the wrong side of 30 sooner rather than later. He’s also looking for huge money. Maybe the Bengals use the franchise tag here, or maybe they extend a “take-it-or-leave-it” offer to Reader. If he leaves it, there will be plenty of suitors with plenty of money to offer him.
One intriguing destination is Los Angeles and the Chargers. Jim Harbaugh was known as a player’s coach while at Michigan, and we saw how committed his players were when he got suspended. That type of commitment usually transcends into the NFL game, and that’s intrigued many players already. Harbaugh will draw players to LA, and they will be really good players.
Defensive tackle is not a major position of need for the Chargers, but Austin Johnson was fine coming off a major knee injury last year. The Chargers have a chance to make “fine” into “great” with Reader in the middle. That’s what Harbaugh will look for in this roster. He wants to build in the trenches, and there are few players as good at that as Reader.