Jim Harbaugh to Stay True to Roots in 2024 Draft, AFC Scout: O-Line Focus Won’t Change for Chargers

Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

At every turn, the Los Angeles Chargers‘ new regime, headed by Jim Harbaugh, has communicated the importance of the offensive line. Whether that was Harbaugh himself naming protecting the quarterback as his top priority on offense or tight ends coach/ run game coordinator, Andy Bischoff saying they will be an o-line-centric building.

Jim Harbaugh’s O-line Focus Won’t Change In LA

NFL: Jim Harbaugh Los Angeles Chargers Offseason Workouts
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Jordan Reid of ESPN spoke with an anonymous AFC director of college scouting about the Chargers draft and he said the following:

“The offensive line has always been the hub of the offense for Harbaugh,” an AFC director of college scouting said. “He didn’t even have highly recruited wideouts at Michigan, and now that thought process is supposed to change?”

Jim Harbaugh’s Top Receivers

All of this evidence points toward Harbaugh not taking one of the highly praised wide receivers in the upcoming draft. A look at how he prioritized pass catchers at his last two stops makes an even finer point on the argument.


NCAA Football: CFP National Championship-Washington at Michigan
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In his time at Michigan, Harbaugh had his share of four and five-star wide receivers, including Donovan Peoples-Jones, but, indeed, Michigan recruited more highly rated offensive linemen in Harbaugh’s time there 18 OL to 13 WRs of four or five stars. Where the distinction is made is in the numbers drafted into the NFL. 10 Michigan offensive linemen have been drafted that played under Jim Harbaugh versus just 5 wide receivers. The only first-rounder among these was center, Cesar Ruiz.

Not once in his time in Michigan did a Harbaugh offense produce a +900-yard receiver. In fact, there were seasons when the leading receiver didn’t surpass more than 500 yards total.

San Francisco 49ers

NFL: Washington Redskins at San Francisco 49ers
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In four seasons with the 49ers, Harbaugh drafted four receivers and only one in the top 100 picks in the draft. They drafted A.J. Jenkins with the 30th pick in the 2012 draft. He played one season for the 49ers and had one target. They didn’t draft many offensive linemen either, but the 49ers came equipped with one of the better offensive lines in the league.

His leading receivers were Michael Crabtree and Anquan Boldin. He inherited Crabtree, who is a former top-10 first-round pick in 2009. The 49ers traded a sixth-round pick for the 33-year-old Boldin after Crabtree had surgery to repair his Achilles. At their best, the Harbaugh-led 49ers passing attack peaked at 206 yards per game, good for 23rd best in the league.