Bold Expert Prediction: Los Angeles Chargers Rookie to Top 2024 Draft in Receiving Yards

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The Los Angeles Chargers went into the draft needing to pick a receiver. While they subverted some expectations by passing on Malik Nabers at 5, they traded up to 34 from 37 to select Ladd McConkey. McConkey was one of the top risers in the pre-draft process. His stock took a sharp turn north after his performance at the Senior Bowl and continued its trajectory after the NFL Combine.

Los Angeles Chargers Rookie Potential Stardom

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With a prospect that has such a meteoric rise, there will be a wide variety of expectations for their rookie season and career prospects. ESPN’s NFL Draft expert, Field Yates is among those who are high on McConkey. Here is what he told Robert Mayes of “The Athletic Football Show.”

“I did love Ladd from the start.”

“I think that Ladd has a chance to become a star..” “..my bold prediction, bold is the important word here, is that Ladd McConkey leads all rookies in receptions this season. Because there’s a pathway for them to be playing a lot for a Chargers. A team that had had one of the weakest depth charts in the entire league going into the NFL draft, I could see an outcome where he’s just always open.”

With Keenan Allen gone, the Chargers’ need for a slot receiver was evident and as currently constructed McConkey stands to get plenty of reps at the position, especially without a pass-catching tight end on the roster.

Ladd McConkey’s Size And Speed

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More from Yates on McConkey;

“The route running is just remarkable. He is incredibly fast. He’s got so much toughness to his game. He needed to be a more consistent catcher in 2023 after too many drops in 2022. He did exactly that. I know the size is just average, probably below average, but I think in the right offense, and this is the right offense, I think Ladd has a chance to become a star.”

McConkey’s height (5’11”) puts him in the 28th percentile of wide receivers and his weight in the 17th. His hand size, wingspan, and arm length are all in the bottom 10 percentile. His speed at the Senior Bowl was tracked at 19.49 mph and he accumulated 119 explosive efforts, third most from the weekend by a WR. His 10-yard split and 40 yard times both put him in the top 9th percentile among wide receivers.

Of course, all of this means nothing. One of his closest comps based on his size and athleticism is Jordan Addison, but another is Kyle Phillips.

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