The Los Angeles Chargers have been very active in free agency, and it’s offered some clarity at the direction they could go for the 2022 NFL Draft.
The Los Angeles Chargers have made things pretty clear. They are ready to go all in to reach the Super Bowl and win a title. It started with re-signing Mike Williams to a three-year deal for $60 million, keeping a reliable contested catch winner in the red zone and down the field. Then, the Chargers made two giant moves, acquiring Khalil Mack from the Bears and signing J.C. Jackson to a mega deal to be their top cornerback on the perimeter.
As for shoring up the run defense, the Chargers signed both Sebastian Joseph-Day (who has familiarity with Brandon Staley from their time together with the Rams) and Austin Johnson, which should help them control gaps better in the run game and keep an extra defender out of the box.
The moves in free agency are giving clarity to how they might approach things in the 2022 NFL Draft. Despite bringing back Williams, there’s clearly room to add more help at wide receiver. Joseph-Day and Johnson are nice, but bringing more juice to the interior defensive line is possible as well. Let’s not forget about the right side of the offensive line, where the Chargers recently released tackle Bryan Bulaga after an injury-riddled tenure with the team.
Here’s a quick short list of players that will likely be in play for the Chargers with that 17th pick:
Ultimately, adding playmakers for the offense will be given some level of priority in the 2022 NFL Draft. Even if he suits up in the second half of 2022, Jameson Williams is well worth the pick. He’s got the speed the unit really needs to threaten deep, and allows Justin Herbert to unleash the howitzer a few times a game. Chris Olave is a smooth, creative separator as a route runner who also offers the speed to win deep. His teammate, Garrett Wilson, is a maestro at creating space in the short area and also thrives at adjusting and winning at the catch point.
The Georgia defensive tackle expected here was probably Jordan Davis, and understandably so. The athleticism combined with his power and space-eating capabilities makes sense for a team that’s going to stick in two-high and quarters. Devonte Wyatt is also on the short list, and provides a level of quickness and power on the interior to slash and get after quarterbacks, which will be necessary in their division and conference.
The final name on there is related to the recent cut of Bulaga and could be the boost the offensive line needs. We know how good Rashawn Slater is, but the right side needs help. Can Trevor Penning make the move to the right side? Perhaps or perhaps not. If he can, the move makes sense. Penning’s demeanor will have Staley excited when they run the football, and the athleticism brings upside to his movement skills in pass protection.
Whatever the Los Angeles Chargers do at pick 17, the value should be very good and will bring about an instant boost on either side of the ball. As free agency dies down, the picture might be even clearer. For now, these guys feel like the best (and most likely) options when the end of April rolls around.