The 2023 NFL Draft is officially in the rear-view mirror, which means that analysts around the league are handing out grades to the Los Angeles Chargers. After a horrific end to the 2022 season, General Manager Tom Telesco and company needed to nail their picks to finally take down the Kansas City Chiefs in the division. While only time will tell if the picks actually out, let’s see what the experts have to say about the decisions.
Los Angeles Chargers NFL Draft Grades Roundup
Nate Davis – USA Today: B
Landing right in the middle of his NFL Draft grades, Davis lauds the Chargers for being “in position to enlist quality players who can likely contribute in 2023 even if they’re not starting until 2024”. Obviously, just about every one of the Chargers picks in the first three rounds falls into this description in some sense. If you consider a third receiver to be a starter in today’s pass-heavy NFL, Quentin Johnston will start, but it’s highly unlikely he plays over either Keenan Allen or Mike Williams.
Davis also speculates on the future of running back Austin Ekeler. The Chargers didn’t draft a single running back, and Ekeler reportedly received no interest from any of the other 31 teams. Perhaps the two sides realize that they’re best off together and come to terms on a re-negotiated contract.
Rob Maaddi – AP: C+
“Quentin Johnston (21) was the second WR off the board with better options available. Addressed defense on Day 2 with DL Tuli Tuipulotu and LB Daiyan Henley.”
Maaddi doesn’t seem to like the Quentin Johnston selection, and there is an argument to be made that the team didn’t choose the correct receiver. Jaxon Smith-Njigba was widely considered the top receiver in the class, but Johnston was right behind him with Jordan Addison and Zay Flowers. However, Johnston’s skillset is a little redundant with Mike Williams on the opposite sideline. While Los Angeles could be trying to recreate a once-great wide receiver duo, they probably would have been better off taking a more unique player in Jordan Addison.
Will Noltie – Last Word on Sports: 7/10
Noltie closes off the Los Angeles Chargers NFL Draft grades with the lowest mark of them all. While he shares some concern for Quentin Johnston’s relatively redundant talent, he acknowledges that the rookie is considerably better after the catch and is “faster than most of the other Chargers receivers”.
Noltie’s biggest surprise is that the Chargers didn’t even address the running back position. While Ekeler and Los Angeles appear to be locked at the hip for at least one more season, the running back is a free agent at the end of the year and will likely leave for the highest bidder. Even if he sticks around, he’s not getting any younger and the Chargers do not have a good backup. In such a stacked class, it is strange that Los Angeles didn’t even invest a Day 3 pick in the position.
Main Photo: Kirby Lee – USA Today Sports