WR or Bust for Los Angeles Chargers? Analyst Predicts 2024 Draft Disaster Without Receiver

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Even before the Los Angeles Chargers moved on from long-time starting wide receivers Keenan Allen and Mike Williams fans and mock drafters alike wanted the Chargers to pick a pass catcher to lend a hand to Justin Herbert and spark the offense.

But even though the need for the position has grown exponentially, reputable sources are linking the Chargers to offensive linemen and to trading back, knocking them out of position for the top 3 wide receivers in the draft.

Los Angeles Chargers 2024 Draft: Wide Receiver or Bust?

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Los Angeles Chargers Draft Prospect: Clare Grant/The Columbus Dispatc / USA TODAY NETWORK Credit: Clare Grant/The Columbus Dispatc / USA TODAY NETWORK

Daniel Wade, host of Locked On Chargers joined the podcast network’s NFL show and was asked if the Chargers 2024 draft hinges on taking a wide receiver with the fifth overall pick in the draft.

“It’s unequivocally wide receiver bust to the point, Wade said, “It would have to be such a haul to get back to move away off of that spot. You just don’t get the stars alining the way that they do for the Chargers this year..” “..[This is]one of the more historic type of wide receiver trio’s that we’ve seen in a long time between Rome Odunze and Malik Nabers and Marvin Harrison Jr.

Harbaugh’s Valuation of Wide Receivers

What has shifted mock drafters away from full-throated support of the Chargers drafting a wide receiver is first and foremost Jim Harbaugh’s team-building history. Looking back at his two previous spots, Harbaugh has never invested much in the position, choosing to focus on the offensive and defensive lines.

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.

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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.

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Los Angeles Chargers Draft Prospect: Melanie Maxwell / USA TODAY NETWORK Credit: Melanie Maxwell / USA TODAY NETWORK