Is Edge Rusher A Chargers Draft Target?
After a full season with Khalil Mack mostly leading the charge in the edge rusher position while Joey Bosa was sidelined with an injury, though Mack did his best to hold everything together, it became clear that the LA Chargers were in desperate need of more depth in that group. Chris Rumph clearly wasn’t ready to step into a more advanced role. His pass rush grade according to Pro Football Focus (PFF) actually declined last season (51.3) from the season before (53.0), despite playing more snaps in 2022.
Kyle Van Noy was certainly the saving grace and played really well down the home stretch, but it’s unclear whether the Chargers will re-sign him.
In terms of others in the position currently besides Mack, Bosa, and Van Noy, there’s Carlo Kemp who played only during the preseason, and Ty Shelby who didn’t play last season. So among the other positions on the roster that need depth, edge rusher is definitely one the Chargers draft needs.
Chargers Draft Targets: Edge Rusher
Lukas Van Ness, Edge, Iowa
A good option for the Chargers draft in the second round could be Lukas Van Ness of the Iowa Hawkeyes. After the NFL combine, Van Ness was graded as someone who “will become a good starter within two years.”
According to Danny Kelly from The Ringer, “He’s a relentless hand-fighter and has a heavy punch, landing blows with a heavy thud as he locks his arms out to forklift offensive lineman off their spot,” but Kelly also remarked that Van Ness may get picked lower because he was never a starter for Iowa and his sack number doesn’t stand out. His aggressiveness and brute strength seem like a good combination for a backup that could eventually shine in a starting position.
Keion White, Edge, Georgia Tech
Another edge rusher that could be a possibility in that second round is Keion White of Georgia Tech. Danny Kelly noted that White “lined up at multiple spots across the formation but primarily played on the edge in 2022. He fires out of his stance with an explosive first step. He brings a powerful upper half and uses his long arms to create leverage, punching opponents’ chests to knock them back and get them on their heels.”
Having that physicality and versatility is a big thing for the Chargers, who often need players who can play in more than one position. White had career-highs in sack count (seven) and receiving touchdowns (two) during his last season at Georgia. He could be a good addition as a backup for the edge rusher group.
What Will The Chargers Do?
The Chargers could go with an edge rusher later in the draft, but given the need for depth at that position, it would make sense for them to go for something sooner.