Grading The Chargers First Round Draft Picks

Los Angeles Chargers Defensive Backs During 2019 Training Camp. Photo Credit: Ryan Dyrud | The LAFB Network
Los Angeles Chargers Defensive Backs During 2019 Training Camp. Photo Credit: Ryan Dyrud | The LAFB Network

The Chargers have had a heck of an offseason so far. Some fans might say it’s been the best offseason they’ve probably had in a decade. The first picks of the NFL draft went down exactly the way most mock drafts expected it to. With Burrow being the consensus number one overall pick and Tua coming off the board fifth, the Chargers got a layup.

The defensive line is stout, the secondary is off the charts, they’ve good options to catch the ball, and they even traded for pieces to fill in the holes on the o-line. After letting Rivers walk and making no splashes in free agency for a quarterback, it shouldn’t be a surprise the Chargers went with QB and a linebacker in the first round. Here’s how it shook out.

Grading The Chargers First Round Draft Picks

Pick #6 – Justin Herbert, QB/Oregon

They were never going to get Burrow, it simply wasn’t in the cards. The Dolphins took the gamble and grabbed the star power in Tua. That left the next best quarterback prospect available in the whole draft there for them. No need to move up or move down, even though there was some speculation they might make a trade and grab the draft capital. That would have been a mistake.

Hebert can do it all and he’s as good as anyone playing the position; big, fast, strong arm, and smart. The only real knock on him so far is that he was mildly erratic towards the end of his Oregon career, not always being able to get rid of the football fast enough and make quick decisions. That was mostly down to seriously inept coaching on the offensive side of the ball from the Oregon staff. In a lot of places, coaches lose jobs for wasting talent like this.

Herbert will most likely sit behind Tyrod Taylor while they try to let him settle in, which is a solid plan, develop your young quarterback before throwing him into the deep end. Herbert may not have been the sexy pick here, but they’re going to get a lot of good years out of him like they did Rivers, and without giving anything up to get him.

Final Grade: B+

Pick #23 – Kenneth Murray, LB/Oklahoma

The Chargers surprised the NFL and fans everywhere by making a trade back into the first round. They gave up picks number 37 and 71 overall, in exchange for the 23rd pick from the Patriots. Essentially they swapped their second-rounder in order to move up fourteen spots and gave up a third-rounder.

Would Murray have been around a few picks later? Probably not. Does that mean it was worth a third-round pick? That remains to be seen with what the Pats can pull off.

The biggest drawback on Murray so far is that a lot of his value is derived from being able to blitz the quarterback and the Chargers are not a big blitzing team. So we’ll have to see how that shakes out. The Chargers absolutely needed an injection of high-quality talent at the position, as they’ve mostly been trotting out slightly underwhelming veterans for a while at insider backer. Murray will definitely be around for a while and will help plug up some of those issues the Chargers have stopping the run. Los Angeles got themselves a stud, just remains to be seen if he was worth the price and how he fits into their system.

Final Grade: B-

The Chargers have still got a long way to go with this draft to be at a place where they feel like they’re competing for a Super Bowl. With the current champions in their division, they have made strides to improve and keep up with them. Solidifying a potent and consistent run game in order to make Taylor/Herbert’s lives easier is still something that needs to be addressed, plus a pass-catcher that can stretch the field, and that pesky left tackle position. They have filled in a lot of the gaps they needed to address from last season, now it’s just a matter of watching those guys grow and seeing what kind of depth they can add from the rest of the draft.