Think The Los Angeles Chargers Will Definitely Draft A WR With Pick 5? Think Again.

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They must. How could they not? In a world where the Los Angeles Chargers, (somewhat expectedly) cut Mike Williams and (shockingly) cut Keenan Allen, is it possible that they don’t draft one of the top receivers in the draft? Malik Nabers, Rome Odunze and Brock Bowers have all spent time as the Chargers mock drafts darling. Some have even speculated that Marvin Harrison Jr. will still be on the board at pick 5 in the upcoming NFL Draft.

Others have speculated and read the tea leaves and decided that the Chargers will draft one of the premier offensive linemen with their first pick in the draft. Then there are the trade-back scenarios, opening the door for a defensive lineman and an offensive lineman.

NFL: Los Angeles Chargers-Head Coach Jim Harbaugh Introductory Press Conference
Feb 1, 2024; Inglewood, CA, USA; Los Angeles Chargers coach Jim Harbaugh speaks at an introductory press conference at YouTube Theater at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Chargers (Short and Specific) History Under Harbaugh

The tea leaves that have been read are not difficult to decipher. Jim Harbaugh clearly laid out his plans for the offense. His top priority is protecting the quarterback. Furthermore, he has always built his teams from the offensive and defensive lines.

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Harbaugh’s defensive coordinator, Jesse Minter followed him to LA from Michigan, where they built a bruising defensive front that pushed Alabama around in the trenches. They held opponents to just 90 yards rushing per game and to just nine rushing touchdowns in 15 games. Minter also cut his teeth in coaching working in Baltimore with, none other than, John Harbaugh.

Aaand, he hired Greg Roman, who mused about Justin Herbert with a good running game less than a month ago. Roman’s offenses have routinely led the league in rushing attempts.

This team’s DNA is not about high-flying receivers. It is about winning at the line of scrimmage.

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Los Angeles Chargers DNA is Now Controlling the Line of Scrimmage.

Need further proof? Look at the moves that the Chargers have made in free agency. There were several combinations of ways to free up cap space, but they chose to keep defensive linemen, Joey Bosa and Khalil Mack and move on from their star wide receivers. They added two inline tight ends and a big bruising running back and a 6’5″ 325 lbs center on offense. On defense, they added Poona Ford, a 5’11” 310 lbs tackle, and Denzel Perryman a linebacker with one sack and 37 run stops last season.

The Chargers have treated perimeter players just as you would expect them to. Not only have they not improved at wide receiver, they haven’t added a cornerback. They are making their priorities very clear.

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Despite these additions, I would expect that the Chargers continue in this direction. They still need a lot of depth at the defensive line and edge depth. Regardless of how you feel about Trey Pipkins as the starting right tackle, they are in desperate need of offensive line depth. They will also likely prioritize adding more depth to the running backs as well.

The Chargers will likely take a pass catcher in the draft, but I doubt it will be in the first round.

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Jan 7, 2024; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Carolina Panthers center Bradley Bozeman (56) before the game at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports