The Chargers have been one of the few teams that have had the luck of bouncing back quickly after a down year. New star quarterback Justin Herbert has been a godsend and the team has flourished under their newest head coach, Brandon Staley. Los Angeles has made a myriad of offseason moves that have put the team on track to top last year’s 9-8 record, and the draft will be a chance to add to that.
The main questions for the Chargers’ front office are, who? what round? and what impact?
Here is how the draft could play out and a possible answer to those very questions:
Round 1, Pick 17: Devonte Wyatt, DL, Georgia
The game plan last season to beat Los Angeles was to run the ball up the middle and keep pounding. Even though the Chargers have made some big moves on defense, the middle of the front seven is still pretty soft.
They should target a space-eater, and Wyatt is just what the doctor ordered.
He has great strength and for such a massive man he has a good amount of wiggle when attacking the gaps. He can stand blockers up at the line of scrimmage and uses his strong hands to shed defenders in pursuit of runners. The former bulldog gives an extra bonus as a pass rusher, with above average speed for the interior defensive line. Getting a player like Wyatt would provide a day one starter who would shore up the run defense and add to the pass rush.
Round 3, Pick 15: Channing Tindall, LB, Georgia
On day two the Chargers should dip into the Georgia well again. With only one pick they will need to make it count and finding a reliable linebacker here would be key.
Channing Tindall played behind a elite defensive line in Athens but that doesn’t take away from his solid play. He is a run defender through and through and has the athleticism to drop into zones if needed. He will make his money filling gaps and stuffing runners at the next level and that’s is why the Chargers should target him. He would be a great compliment to possible first pick Devonte Wyatt and also develop into a perennial Pro-Bowl talent with the proper coaching.
Round 4, Pick 18: Chris Paul, OL, Tulsa
Round 5, Pick 17: Keytaon Thompson, WR, Virginia
Round 6, Pick 16: Jaylen Warren, RB, Oklahoma State
Round 6, Pick 35: Tykee Smith, Safety, Georgia
Round 7, Pick 15: Jeffrey Gunter, Edge, Coastal Carolina
Round 7, Pick 33: Ty Clary, OL, Arkansas
Round 7, Pick 34: Joshua Williams, CB, Fayetteville State
Round 7, Pick 39: Jordan Stout, P, Penn State
The Chargers could be the team that benefits the most from their day three picks. They have eight picks and with the depth of this draft they could come out with some quality contributors.
Players like Keytaon Thompson, Tykee Smith and Joshua Williams all have the chance to carve out roles on this team.
Thompson is a swiss army knife on offense, having played QB, WR and Wildcat QB at UVA. He can he utilized in a role similar to Taysom Hill in New Orleans and could add an extra dimension to the Chargers’ offense.
Williams is a long cover corner with great ball production. He is a small school product but his skills are hard to deny. Adding him to the defensive backfield would be a smart investment. Smith is another Georgia product and is a football player through and through. He is not afraid to stick his nose in the run game and excels at deep zone coverage. He will be a liability in man coverage, but shows the movement skills to get better over time.
The other five picks will be depth guys, but of the five, punter Jordan Stout and running back Jaylen Warren could see their roles expand as early as 2023. Stout is a field flipper and in today’s pass happy league, making a team start on their own 5-yard line is invaluable. Warren is a combo back who doesn’t excel at any one area but doesn’t have a lot of weaknesses, either. He has soft hands and can make plays in the pass game, as well as hit the hole hard when running the ball. He can deliver a pop at the end of runs, which is a change of pace to starter Austin Ekeler.
Making moves like these could give a jolt to the Chargers franchise and set them up to become the premier team in a stacked division. When the bell sounds these picks should see their names called and wear the powder blue and gold in 2022.