Los Angeles Chargers 7-round NFL mock draft: Helping Justin Herbert

Los Angeles Chargers, 2021 NFL mock draft (Photo by Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)
Los Angeles Chargers, 2021 NFL mock draft (Photo by Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Alijah Vera-Tucker, Los Angeles Chargers, NFL mock draft
The Los Angeles Chargers select Alijah Vera-Tucker in the first round of this NFL mock draft (Photo by Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Los Angeles Chargers appear to have solved the most difficult part of building a team; finding the franchise quarterback. Justin Herbert was absolutely fantastic for the Chargers last season, completing nearly 67% of his passes for 4,336 yards, 31 touchdowns and 10 interceptions on his way to being named NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year.

In Herbert, the Chargers have one of the most dynamic young quarterbacks in the entire league and finding the proper way to build around him will be of the utmost importance going forward.

The Chargers have already taken a major step forward this offseason, hiring Brandon Staley to replace Anthony Lynn as the team’s head coach. Staley proved himself as one of the most brilliant defensive minds in the NFL last season, shining as the defensive coordinator of the Los Angeles Rams. With Herbert being such a focus of the franchise, hiring a defensive-minded coach was surprising, but Staley’s modern, analytical approach will undoubtedly help this team on both sides of the ball.

The Chargers have put together a talented roster that could legitimately compete in the AFC next season. However, if Herbert can continue to progress well, their long-term upside as a franchise is absolutely massive. How can the Los Angeles Chargers make the most out of their 2021 NFL Draft capital and build this team properly? Find out in this complete seven-round 2021 NFL mock draft for the team.

Note: This mock draft was completed using The Draft Network’s Mock Draft Machine.

Los Angeles Chargers NFL mock draft: Round 1, 13th overall

Scouting Report. Alijah Vera-Tucker. 808. Pick Analysis. OL. USC. 1. player

Improving the offensive line will likely be priority number one for the Los Angeles Chargers this offseason. Herbert played well under pressure as a rookie, but his long-term growth could certainly be stunted if the Chargers continue to struggle to protect him going forward. Expect this team to attack their obvious needs across the offensive line both in free agency and the 2021 NFL Draft.

In the first round of this NFL mock draft, the Chargers address this offensive line need with the selection of Alijah Vera-Tucker out of USC. Vera-Tucker is an extremely athletic offensive line prospect who moves incredibly well in space. He shows tremendous movement skills in pass protection and is a legitimately elite second-level blocker in the run game. Vera-Tucker also does a great job of using his hands at all times, showing a powerful and accurate initial strike and phenomenal grip strength.

Vera-Tucker shined at offensive guard early in his college career and continued to have success with a move outside to left tackle this past season. He is probably best suited as a guard at the next level, but Vera-Tucker played extremely well at left tackle in 2020 and certainly has some exciting upside at the position should his NFL team choose to keep him there.

Whether he is a guard or a tackle should not matter to the Los Angeles Chargers. This team has major needs at both positions and Vera-Tucker could come in and provide an immediate upgrade at either spot. Building around Herbert by improving his protection is incredibly important for LA this offseason and adding Vera-Tucker ot the mix would undoubtedly be a major step in the right direction.