Even though it’s only February, it’s never too early to look at some Chargers NFL Draft targets. With Justin Herbert’s rookie contract rapidly coming to a close, it is imperative that Los Angeles nails these draft picks and starts building a roster truly capable of matching up with the elite teams in the AFC.
For the sake of this article, I focused on prospects that could realistically still be on the board when the Chargers are on the clock. While a lot can change between now and April, every player mentioned is currently expected to go off the board around the time the Chargers are set to pick.
Top Five Los Angeles Chargers NFL Draft Targets
1. Jordan Addison – WR, USC
The Chargers have a dangerous lack of depth at the wide receiver position. Keenan Allen and Mike Williams are a fantastic duo, but the 2022 season showed that Los Angeles is in serious trouble if either player misses a significant period of time. Even if you could magically guarantee a clean bill of health for both guys, Allen is entering his age-31 season and is much closer to the end of his career than the beginning.
Enter Jordan Addison. We’ve already covered Jordan Addison’s potential fit with the Chargers, but for those that missed the article, Addison is a phenomenal route runner with a strong analytic profile that suggests he’ll be able to contribute right out of the gate. Pairing Addison will give the Chargers a lethal three-headed receiving room in the short term, and Addison’s skill set makes him a natural fit to take over for Keenan Allen when the longtime Charger eventually reaches the end of the road.
Other Receivers: Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Quentin Johnson
2. Anton Harrison – OT, Oklahoma
On paper, the Chargers have two good offensive tackles in Rashawn Slater and Jamaree Salyer. However, anyone that’s watched the 2022 iteration of the team knows that an offensive line is only as strong as its weakest link, and in today’s pass-heavy NFL, you really need three starting-caliber tackles to make it through a season.
Justin Herbert is the most important player on the Chargers roster by a wide margin, so it stands to reason that the second-most important person is the player responsible for making sure he doesn’t get hurt. Anton Harrison moves astonishingly well on his feet, allowing him to match speed rushers and keep his quarterback untouched through long-developing pass plays. While he isn’t a road-grader in the run game, he can hold his own and won’t singlehandedly ruin any plays. In today’s NFL, that’s the type of tackle you’d love to have on your team.
Anton Harrison is my favorite OT in this class! Big, Athletic, and great Hands! #NFLDraft2023
— tyler baird (@MT_Baird) January 26, 2023
Other Tackles: Dawand Jones, Broderick Jones
3. Joey Porter Jr – CB, Penn State
The JC Jackson experiment didn’t get off to the best start in 2022. While it’s entirely possible that the former Patriot turns it around in Year 2, the Chargers shouldn’t bank on it. When you share a division with Patrick Mahomes, you need to have physical corners that can bully receivers, and the 6′-3″, 248-pound Porter excels in press-man coverage. The Penn State product has the prototypical build for the position and should go a long way in solidifying the Los Angeles secondary.
4. Michael Mayer – TE, Notre Dame
As mentioned earlier, Justin Herbert needs another reliable weapon in the passing game. While a wide receiver would be preferable, it’s hard to say no to a player as good as Michael Mayer. The Junior out of Notre Dame might just be the best tight end prospect to hit the NFL in years (sorry, Kyle Pitts) and could be one of the few players at the position capable of making an impact on Day 1. While he lacks the elite breakaway speed of guys like Travis Kelce, he is a fantastic chain mover with a nose for getting open against man and zone coverages, similar to an early-career Zach Ertz. Additionally, he can hold his own as a blocker, so he won’t just be a glorified receiver.
5. Siaki Ika – DL, Baylor
The last of the Chargers draft targets is an old-school type of player. If Siaki Ika entered the NFL 30 years ago, he’d easily be a top-15 pick. An immovable force in the middle of the defensive line, the Baylor product simply does not lose in the trenches. He eats double teams like they’re nothing and constantly blows up interior run lanes. The Chargers had a terrible run defense in 2022, so it’s easy to imagine how Ika could immediately improve the unit. Unfortunately, he doesn’t do much of anything as a pass rusher, and it’s hard to justify a first-round investment for a guy for a run-first player in today’s day and age. If he falls to the second, he’s a no-brainer. However, in the first round, the Chargers should probably look at a more impactful position.
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