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LA Chargers Post-Draft Grade

The 2024 NFL Draft is finally in the books. It’s a sad time considering that the draft and all it’s accompanying excitement won’t be with us for another year. But it’s also a fun time as fans can see their rookies gel with their franchises throughout OTAs, minicamp, training camp, and the preseason. However, with the 2024 NFL Draft having drawn to a close, how did the Chargers fare? From the outside looking in, it appears that LA was able to bolster their offensive line, build up their WR core, get some much-needed depth at CB, draft a RB who could be a steal, and bring in a LB who could contribute immediately. 


Joe Alt - Los Angeles Chargers Offensive Tackle - ESPN

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Round 1 #5 Overall – Joe Alt, OT, Notre Dame; B

I’m going to be a bit more strict with this selection. I understand that the Chargers needed to strengthen their offensive line with how Jim Harbaugh and Greg Roman like to run their offense. However, Justin Herbert still needs weapons to throw to. The Bolts drafted a couple of wideouts with their second and seventh-round selections, but Herbert needs more than Day 2 and 3 picks to throw to, he needs actual weapons. Rome Odunze could’ve been this weapon as he has the talent to even be WR1 for the Bears as early as the year after this. 

Sticking to the OT position, Joe Alt hasn’t played RT since very early in his career at Notre Dame. He’s a great athlete, but he was my OT4 of this year’s draft behind RTs JC Latham and Taliese Fuaga, whom I had as OT2 and OT3. It’s looking like Rashawn Slater will stick on the left side with Alt switching to protecting Herbert’s front side. But with Alt having to adjust to NFL competition, he now also has to adjust to almost a new position. It just seems like a lot to put on a rookie who’s supposed to be a cornerstone of the LA franchise. 


Los Angeles Chargers draft Ladd McConkey: How he fits, pick grade and scouting intel - The Athletic

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Round 2 #34 Overall – Ladd, McConkey, WR, Georgia; B+

Ladd McConkey will bring some much-needed skill and winning pedigree to the LA WR room. A national champion at the University of Georgia, McConkey knows what it takes to win. He’s quick off the ball and can get open against both man and zone. He projects to be more of a slot receiver but he’s more than capable of running routes from the outside as well. He might not have been the best WR in the draft, but expect him to make a case to be the Chargers’ WR1 this summer. 

I had McConkey as my WR2 going into Day 2. However, with Troy Franklin still being on the board, whom I had as my WR1 going into the day, and with McConkey’s injury history, the trade to select him was completely unnecessary. I think this trade could’ve been given an “A” grade had LA not jumped to grab him. Even though the Patriots were in the market for a wideout, all signs indicated that they weren’t going to draft the Georgia product. 


What Junior Colson brings to the Los Angeles Chargers - Maize n Brew

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Round 3 #69 Overall – Junior Colson, LB, Michigan; B+

The Chargers have had a hole at the LB position for years. They’ve tried patching up the position by bringing in veterans and drafting Kenneth Murray years ago, but the patchwork never held. This year, I had Colson as my LB3. However, with this pick, Payton Wilson was still available, whom I had as my LB2. I understand that Wilson is a risk given his injury history, but so was McConkey. Additionally, I understand Colson’s ties to Harbaugh given they recently won a national championship together at Michigan, but Wilson is the better player. 

Don’t get me wrong, Junior Colson is not a bad player. In fact it’s extremely likely he’s a starter come Week 1 of the regular season. But, if your reasoning for drafting Alt was that he was the best athlete and the best prospect available, drafting Colson doesn’t make sense. Especially with TJ Tampa still on the board and the team’s glaring need at corner. 


Alabama Defensive Lineman Justin Eboigbe Drafted By Los Angeles Chargers

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Round 4 #105 Overall – Justin Egoigbe, DT, Alabama; C-

This is probably the Chargers’ worst pick of the draft. No offense to Egoigbe since he was a First-team All-SEC honoree this past season, but considering the WRs, CBs, and RBs that were still on the board, this pick could’ve been much better. 

Nonetheless, Egoigbe has the height, weight, and length to develop into something in the NFL. Just under 300 pounds, he measures in at 6’4” with arms just under 34 inches. He can align on multiple fronts to bring versatility to the Bolt’s DT room. Still, he’s slow to fire off the ball, doesn’t have much of a pass rush, and isn’t strong enough to hold his own against single blockers in the run game. If it was versatility Horitz and Harbaugh wanted out of a defensive lineman, they should’ve gone after Brandon Dorlus, who was selected four picks after to the Atlanta Falcons.


Tarheeb Still - Football - University of Maryland Athletics

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Round 5 #137 Overall (via Patriots) – Tarheeb Still, CB, Maryland; A

Completely opposite from the previous selection, this is a sleeper pick that could turn out to being one of the best of the 2024 NFL Draft. Not invited to the NFL Combine in Indy, Tarheeb Still went under the radar amongst fans and the media. Besides this, he was overshadowed in previous years by Deonte Banks and Jakorian Bennet, and this year by Beau Brade. However, Horitz and his team might’ve found a diamond in the rough. He’s tall, lengthy, and has the ball skills that could produce turnovers and create incompletions. 

He does need to be better at reacting rather than guessing a receiver’s direction, as seen in how he sometimes prematurely turns his hips, but Still could be a pick we’re talking about not only as Chargers fans but as football fans in general. 


Notre Dame Corner Cam Hart Declares For The NFL Draft, Opts Out Of Bowl Game - Sports Illustrated Notre Dame Fighting Irish News, Analysis and More

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Round 5 #140 Overall – Cam Hart, CB, Notre Dame; B+

There’s nothing bad with this pick, but there’s also nothing special with it. LA drafted a CB who could develop into something much more with their last pick, and with their second fifth-rounder they add depth to the room. Still, while not much should be expected of Hart, he’s an excellent addition given his length and experience against terrific wide receivers. 

He might not have blazing straight line speed or be the most explosive player, but he’s someone whom you can be confident about should he need to give a player some rest or fill in for a couple of games. Additionally, while he’ll stay on the outside in the NFL, Hart does have experience playing in the slot as well. 


Kimani Vidal News - ESPN

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Round 6 #181 Overall – Kimani Vidal, RB, Troy; A

After the Melvin Gordon-Austin Ekeler duo broke up, the Charger rushing attack hasn’t been the same. Ekeler’s been able to carry the workload the past couple of seasons, but this work rate culminated in a string of injuries and time missed this past year. With how much Harbaugh and Roman are signaling their intent to run the ball this season, it was imperative that LA draft or sign a young back this offseason. They did this with Kimani Vidal, the great nephew of baseball HOFer Hank Aaron. 

Vidal has been a workhorse for Troy for the past couple of seasons. He’s strong, speedy, and hits holes hard making him difficult to bring down. Even more, he’s a good catcher out of the backfield and a decent blocker as well. Still, he lacks elusivity in between the tackles and doesn’t have the speed to consistently turn the corner or be a home-run threat. Nevertheless, Vidal is someone who’s progression should be looked on with great interest.


USC's Brenden Rice Selected by Los Angeles Chargers in Seventh Round of 2024 NFL Draft - USC Athletics

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Round 7 #225 Overall – Brenden Rice, WR, USC; A

Despite trading up for Ladd McConkey in the second round, LA still needed to add a WR whether it was through the draft or in free agency. With their first pick in the seventh round, LA decided to go with Jerry Rice’s son. Brenden won’t be the dominant player his father was. But he could still be a major contributor to a team that needs help out wide. 

If LA doesn’t add a receiver in free agency, Rice will likely go in to summer camp as the team’s WR4. He experiences difficulties against bigger, more physical corners, but he has fine straight line speed and is strong going up for the ball. He understands how to flip DBs hips but he could be better at maintaining this leverage. Nonetheless, expect Rice to be a talking point during summer camp. 


Tangled up in Cornelius Johnson's web of influence

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Round 7 #253 Overall (compensatory) – Cornelius Johnson, WR, Michigan; B

There were a number of ways Horitz and Harbaugh could’ve gone with this pick. They could’ve added safety depth behind Gilman and James, they could’ve added to their LB core, they could’ve tried to find a developmental TE, and they could’ve even added to their DL depth. Instead, they opted to go with a familiar face to bolster their receiver room. 

Cornelius Johnson is nothing special, but where he excels will benefit the team immensely if he makes the roster. He has some speed and explosivity, but he isn’t the best at getting open. Johnson does show some flashes catching through contact, but where he excels the most is in the run game with his large frame. Going into blocks, he attacks defenders and pushes smaller DBs aside. Should Johnson make the roster, expect him to have a decently sized role, especially in the run game. 


Final Grade: B+

As stated at the beginning, the Chargers, at the end of the day, were able to add depth to their WR and CB rooms, find a developmental RB and defensive lineman, bring in a potential starting LB, and obtain a potential franchise RT. It was nothing flashy, but it has the makeup of being exactly what the franchise needed in order to run Greg Roman’s offense and Jesse Minter’s defense exceptionally well. Still, if there are a few more positions that could be added to this offseason, it’d be at WR, safety, and DT. Some options still available at these positions are Justin Simmons, Hassan Ridgeway, Hunter Renfrow, Tyler Boyd, and Michael Thomas.


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