LA CHARGERS NFL DRAFT PLAN OF ATTACK
QB, OT, WR, NT, RB
FREE AGENT ACQUISITIONS:
OT Bryan Bulaga, RB Austin Ekeler (re-signed), CB Chris Harris, TE Hunter Henry (franchised), DT Linval Joseph, G Trai Turner (trade)
FREE AGENT LOSSES:
QB Philip Rivers, RB Melvin Gordon, FB Derek Watt, WR Travis Benjamin, G Michael Schofield, OT Russell Okung (trade), DT Brandon Mebane, LB Jatavis Brown, LB Thomas Davis, S Adrian Phillips, S Jaylen Watkins
ROUND 1 TARGETS:
QB Tua Tagovailoa, OT Mekhi Becton, OT Jedrick Wills, OT Tristian Wirfs, S/LB Isaiah Simmons, CB Jeffrey Okudah, DT Derrick Brown, QB Justin Herbert, QB Jordan Love
ROUND 2 TARGETS:
OT Josh Jones, OT Ezra Cleveland, OT Isaiah Wilson, WR Jalen Reagor, WR Brandon Aiyuk, WR Laviska Shenault Jr., WR K.J. Hamler, RB Jonathan Taylor, RB JK Dobbins, RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire, DT Neville Gallimore, QB Jalen Hurts, QB Jacob Eason
ROUND 3 TARGETS:
OT Prince Tega-Wanogho OT Ben Bartch, OT Saahdiq Charles, DT Leki Fotu, WR Van Jefferson, WR KJ Hill, WR Michael Pittman Jr., WR Chase Claypool RB Cam Akers, RB Zack Moss, QB Jake Fromm
PLAN OF ATTACK:
The Chargers hold the 6th pick in the 2020 NFL Draft and have a decision to make. Will they take their quarterback of the future or grab their left tackle for the next decade? In most cases the quarterback will win this argument every time, but here the tackle could be the better overall prospect. Mekhi Becton would be a phenomenal get for the Chargers here. He’s a beast of a man standing 6’7 and weighing in at well over 350 pounds. He moves exceptionally well for being so big and is an extremely violent and aggressive blocker. Other tackles who would be better values than a quarterback would be Tristan Wirfs, Jedrick Wills, and possibly even Andrew Thomas.
All that being said, the Chargers will probably still go with the quarterback. Justin Herbert from Oregon is the most likely candidate. He’s got the size, smarts and arm strength that teams drool over. There were some concerns about his overall leadership, but he showed at the Senior Bowl he can be a guy that teammates gravitate to and get behind. Jordan Love was getting some steam for this pick after the Combine, but that talk has cooled, though he remains a dark horse candidate.
In Round 2 the Chargers could go a few ways. First of all, if they get their QB at 6, then they’ll want to find a big man to protect him. If Austin Jackson or Josh Jones were still available either would be slam dunks. It’s more likely they’d be looking at Boise State’s Ezra Cleveland. He’s a solid prospect with good size and is a fluid mover. He does need to add some strength but there is plenty to like with him. They could also give their new quarterback a weapon. This is a deep receiver class and the Chargers could choose to take advantage of it. They have one of the best-receiving duos in the league in Keenan Allen and Mike Williams but need a third member of that trio. Jalen Reagor, Laviska Shenault, Tee Higgins, KJ Hamler, and Brandon Aiyuk all would look good in powder blue.
If the Chargers don’t go with a quarterback at pick 6, they could take one at the top of the second round. They are supposedly high on Jalen Hurts and he could be the choice, or they could roll with big Jacob Eason. The Chargers could also get a power running back to pair with Austin Ekeler and Jonathan Taylor would be a great choice. They could also get a young nose tackle to take over for Linval Joseph next year and Oklahoma’s Neville Gallimore could be that guy.
In Round 3, the Chargers could grab that power back. Two tough and physical runners who could be available would be Cam Akers or Zack Moss. Both of these guys love contact and could be that power option to the more finesse style of Austin Ekeler. The Chargers could look for their wide receiver three here as well. Ohio State’s K.J. Hill is a smooth route runner who would work well out of the slot. If the Chargers have yet to grab an offensive tackle, they could look at Ben Bartch from St. John’s. This small school stud made a name for himself at the Senior Bowl as he showed he has the tools to hang with the big boys. He also got his name on the map at the Combine, not just for his good workout, but also for his nasty shake he used to drink to gain weight.
In the odd event the Chargers haven’t grabbed a quarterback by the time the third round starts, then they’d be looking at Jake Fromm from Georgia. He doesn’t have the eye-popping physical traits of the other quarterbacks but is an extremely smart player, who understands the game and will be ready to see the action early in his career.
Round 1: QB Justin Herbert, Oregon
Round 2: OT Ezra Cleveland, Boise State
Round 3: RB Cam Akers, Florida State