NFL Insider Reveals Jim Harbaugh’s Potential Draft Strategy For Los Angeles Chargers

Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Chargers are one of the biggest mysteries ahead of the 2024 NFL Draft with head coach Jim Harbaugh seemingly open to a wide variety of options with the fifth overall pick. Less than two weeks out from the pick being made, there is some insight into Harbaugh’s tactics.

Harbaugh hasn’t been shy about telling reporters of his interest in the 2024 NFL Draft class and the importance of specific positions. Some NFL executives even believe Harbaugh is using wild tactics to both influence where quarterback J.J. McCarthy is taken and who is available for Los Angeles at No. 5 overall.

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At the NFL league meetings, Harbaugh called the offensive line the most important position group in football as its success doesn’t depend on any other position group. Many also took notice of a recent Chargers press conference when Harbaugh didn’t offer much comment on the current receivers. Fans on Reddit also pointed out an ESPN story in 2016 when the coach revealed he wanted to draft Julio Jones.

There are also plenty of NFL trade rumors suggesting Los Angeles could trade down from the fifth overall pick with a team like the Minnesota Vikings. Not only would this allow the Chargers to address more needs, but they could also draft an offensive tackle at a more reasonable spot.

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Yahoo Sports NFL insider Charles Robinson touched on Harbaugh’s recent comments and the motivations behind his public statements on the latest “Inside Coverage” podcast. In that segment, where Robinson and NFL reporter Jori Epstein discussed recent NFL rumors, Robinson explained Harbaugh’s potential strategy.

“I think harbaugh knows that there’s trade interest potentially with his pick at five. Even if the quarterbacks all go off at foru, that means you have the pick of the litter at five. That’s going to be attractive to a number of teams out there, maybe he’s trying to entice the Titans to push up to the fifth overall pick, maybe it’s a little later, maybe it’s the Jets at 10…I also think Jim Harbaugh knwos how to play the game and right now he’s making sure that he has all his bases covered, so if someone is interested inn moving up toat spot, that’s something he’s going to be open to.”

Charles Robinson on Jim Harbaugh’s comments ahead of 2024 NFL Draft.

How Jim Harbaugh’s use of the media can benefit the Chargers

As Robinson noted, there’s a lot of incentive behind the comments Harbaugh has made. Pumping up McCarthy has helped fuel a growing belief that four quarterbacks will be taken with the first four picks in the 2024 NFL Draft. Knowing that, Harbaugh has said that scenario would be like a de-facto No. 1 overall pick for Los Angeles.

If that happens, Los Angeles would have its choice between wide receivers Malik Nabers and Marvin Harrison Jr. or offensive tackle Joe Alt. While there is recent buzz suggesting it might be Alt, even that could be smoke to influence a team like the Tennessee Titans with their biggest need at left tackle.

Related: Los Angeles Chargers depth chart 2024

Asked about the legitimacy of recent NFL Draft rumors suggesting the Chargers will take an offensive tackle with the fifth overall pick, Epstein explained that while she does think it happens it might also be put out there intentionally by Harbaugh.

  • Jim Harbaugh NFL record: 44-19-1 overall

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“I think they’re going to take an offensive tackle, because that’s what they need. I think you look at the Chiefs and you say, ‘Hey, we have a really talented quarterback, what’s the best way to allow that quarterback to go off?’ They invested in their offensive line, rather than their receiver room…I do not put it past Jim Harbaugh to not make something up. I don’t think he’s even kept to that in this draft cycle. I think he is elevating J.J. McCarthy beyond what’s actually reasonable.”

Jori Epstein on the Los Angeles Chargers draft strategy

While Harbaugh hasn’t coached in the NFL since 2014, he knows how the game is played behind the scenes. Using the media to create a certain message about what the Chargers might do in the 2024 NFL Draft could influence what other teams think. If all of that works out to benefit of Los Angeles in the end, all the pre-draft headlines and quotes were more than worth it.

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