NFL Analyst Has Bold Prediction For Los Angeles Chargers’ Ladd McConkey In 2024

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The Los Angeles Chargers entered the 2024 NFL Draft with a glaring need at wide receiver. Even after waiting to address the position until the second round, there is some belief Ladd McConkey will be one of the best rookies in 2024.

McConkey, age 22, was obviously high on the Chargers draft board. Viewed by many as a first-round talent, but falling due to medical concerns regarding his back, the Chargers traded the 37th and 110th picks to move up in exchange for the 34th and 137th overall selections.

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The rookie immediately walks into a favorable situation. Following the release of Mike Williams and the Keenan Allen trade this offseason, McConkey has an opportunity to challenge Joshua Palmer to be atop the Chargers depth chart this fall as the No. 1 receiver.

While McConkey was the ninth wide receiver picked in the 2024 NFL Draft, one top NFL analyst believes the Chargers’ wideout could be among the most productive rookies this fall.

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In an ESPN panel of NFL analysts, NFL expert and fantasy football analyst Field Yates predicted that McConkey would lead all rookies in receptions this upcoming season.

“McConkey landed in such a great spot given the thin receiver depth chart for the Chargers. He has a chance to start right away in an offense with an excellent quarterback in Justin Herbert and his elite route running will lead to plenty of targets.”

Field Yates on why Los Angeles Chargers WR Ladd McConkey can lead rookies in receptions

Why Ladd McConkey Can Thrive In The Los Angeles Chargers Offense

Los Angeles Chargers
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While Justin Herbert has one of the strongest arms among NFL starting quarterbacks, the centerpiece of the Chargers’ offense doesn’t necessarily use that arm strength at a high rate.

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Last season, Herbert only ranked 11th in rate of throws (12.1 percent) 20-plus yards downfield, per Pro Football Focus. A season prior, only 9.7 percent of Herbert’s pass attempts went 20-plus air yards. Instead, the Chargers quarterback relies heavily on short throws – 0 to 9 yards past the line of scrimmage – highlighted by 45.6 percent of his passes last year being thrown in that range.

While McConkey can make plays vertically, he excels at working the underneath areas and creating immediate separation from coverage. In his final season at Georgia, McConkey posted the fourth-highest yards per route run (3.26) among draft-eligible wideouts.

McConkey was always the perfect fit for the Chargers offense, providing a weapon who can get open quickly and be that go-to target on the short throws that Herbert loves. Because of his schematic fit and the volume of targets he’ll see, McConkey absolutely has a chance to lead all rookies in receptions this fall.