NFL Insider Reveals Chargers Draft Targets At 5th Pick, Jim Harbaugh’s ‘Favorite’ Prospect

Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Chargers draft rumors are swirling just a day out from head coach Jim Harbaugh and general manager Joe Hortiz being put on the clock. Amid recent chatter of a potential trade down or surprise pick, it appears the Chargers draft board in Round 1 might be very simple.

With multiple quarterback-needy teams, Harbaugh and Hortiz would still seemingly prefer to trade down thus allowing them to pick up multiple picks to address the Chargers draft needs. However, recent NFL news indicates that the Minnesota Vikings might be staying put at the 11th overall pick.

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If trading down is out of the question, despite Los Angeles making a hard push to swing a deal, Los Angeles won’t accept a ‘fair’ trade just to help out another club. Whether another general manager is moving up for a quarterback or another top prospect, Hortiz is adamant about a no-doubt deal.

“There’s certainly, ‘It’s too good of a deal,’ because of what you’re getting back. They have to make it attractive for us to move away from those players. The whole, ‘It’s a fair trade, it’s a wash,’ I don’t think that’s a trade that we’re interested in,”

Los Angeles Chargers general manager Joe Hortiz on trading down from the No. 5 pick (H/T

Hortiz’s comments and recent NFL Draft news casting doubt on a blockbuster trade within the top five picks increase the likelihood of Los Angeles staying put. If that’s the case, the decision will reportedly come down to two players and Harbaugh does have a preference.

Also Read: 2024 NFL mock draft, 3 round projections

According to Sportskeeda’s NFL insider Tony Pauline, the Chargers’ decision will come down to offensive tackle Joe Alt and wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. In the scenario that both players are available, as would happen if the Vikings or New York Giants trade up for quarterback J.J. McCarthy, the coach’s preference could be the deciding vote.

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Pauline reports that Harrison Jr. is ‘a favorite’ of Harbaugh’s, having watched him closely in the Big Ten. If the decision is left up to the Chargers’ coach and the All-American wide receiver is available, he could be the pick. Although, Pauline notes some around the NFL point to Hortiz’s track record with the Baltimore Ravens as evidence he could try and sway Harbaugh to draft Alt.

Related: 2024 NFL Draft prospect rankings, top 50 big board

Who will the Chargers draft? Evaluating Los Angeles Chargers draft targets

Jim Harbaugh, Los Angeles Chargers draft rumors
Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Marvin Harrison Jr. and Joe Alt are both viewed as the best prospects at their position in the 2024 NFL Draft. While Harrison Jr. is ranked higher on consensus draft boards, Alt does play a position that is traditionally seen as more valuable.

Related: 2024 NFL Draft wide receiver rankings

When we revisited draft classes under Hortiz with the Baltimore Ravens, the biggest takeaway was his success on Day 2 of the NFL Draft. The Ravens have indeed spent multiple first-round picks on offensive tackles and placed a ton of value on the position.

With that said, Baltimore also spent first-round selections on wide receivers Zay Flowers (22nd overall pick in 2023), Rashod Bateman (27th overall in 2021), Marquie Brown (25th overall in 2019) and Breshad Perriman (26th overall in 2015). In fact, since 2015, Baltimore has invested more first-round picks into wide receiver (four) than offensive tackle (one).

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Pauline also noted that if the Chargers draft Alt with the fifth overall pick, he would play right tackle next season. As recorded by Pro Football Focus, Alt has played 2,178 career snaps at left tackle without a single appearance on the right side. It’s not an impossible transition by any means, but it would add another thing to his learning curve as he transitions to the NFL.

Harrison Jr would immediately provide Los Angeles with a No. 1 receiver, giving them an offensive weapon that most would already regard as a better offensive weapon in 2024 than Keenan Allen. It’s also worth factoring who is atop the Chargers depth chart into the evaluation. Trey Pipkins proved to be an adequate starter at right tackle and there’s a little more room for growth, meanwhile, Joshua Palmer and Quentin Johnson are the top Chargers wide receivers right now.

Related: Los Angeles Chargers insider predicts first-round trade back

Who will the Chargers draft? Right now, the ranked options appear to be trading down, drafting Harrison Jr. followed by drafting Alt. If a deal doesn’t materialize that is to Hortiz’s liking on Thursday night, Harbaugh seems destined to get his favorite player in the 2024 NFL Draft.