The Los Angeles Chargers have one of the most talented teams that have yet to win a playoff game. They have decided to keep Brandon Staley as their Head Coach. So the question stands, how do they upgrade this roster to get over that hump.
I decided to take the draft route and see how that shakes up here in January. I like doing these now to start getting a feel for player profiles and team needs. Individual mock drafts are helpful with the research that I do in the off-season. Big shout out to NFL Draft Buzz for having great corroborate information.
Trade Down For A Playmaker?
In this scenario, the Chargers can move down two spots and get a top-100 pick in addition to that.
Pick 23: Kayshon Boutte Wide Receiver LSU
After watching Boutte’s tape I feel like this is a clone of Keenan Allen who is just quicker. This guy has the size and length, his biggest issue is his health which derailed his latest season at LSU. His speed and quickness translate to his route running he is crisp, smooth, and explosive coming out of his breaks. If he could come in and learn from Allen how to be a pro.
Most of these passes are lame ducks, imagine him catching footballs from Herbert. By the middle of the season Allen, Williams and Boutte could be the most explosive receiving group in the league. This is an excellent pick for both the long-term and short-term. He is a game-breaker who is electric with the ball in his hands, He could be exactly what the offense is missing.
Pick 54: Jaelyn Duncan Offensive Tackle Maryland
Duncan has the stature of an NFL left tackle at 6-6 320 pounds, which is something the Chargers are generally looking for in their tackle position. He has excellent foot speed for his size and but he needs to understand how to use his average length to his advantage.
However, his athleticism is top notch and he excels in pull blocking, and he understands when to chip Linebackers and recognize stunts. There is a reason this guy isn’t a top-ten prospect, he needs to polish some of his game and get more technically sound to use his athletic abilities.
Pick 85: Ivan Pace Jr Linebacker Cincinnati
Cincinnati has quietly produced some serious NFL talent, the Kelce Brothers, Derek Wolfe, Sauce Gardener, and Ivan Pace JR could be added to that list of names. His play style is similar to Logan Wilson on the Bengals, Wilson has changed the middle of that defense by consistently filling the lanes and being average in coverage. The Chargers have the pass rush and the secondary but continue to get gashed on the ground.
Pace Jr is fast and reactive, often sniffing out the rushing lanes as the running back finds them. He can wreak Havoc in the backfield. There are a few weaknesses to his game but typically his football IQ puts him in the right spot to succeed. I think Pace will be a quality player and a value draft pick.
Pick 87: Luke Musgrave Tight End Oregon State
Musgrave has all the receiving tools a coach would want in a TE prospect at 6-6 250 pounds. He definitely needs to develop his blocking game if he wants to be a star. The Chargers have been searching for an answer at this position since Henry left in free agency, but really since Antonio Gates. It’s been waiting for Donald Parham or bringing in re-treads.
Luke and Kayshoun give the LA a look they haven’t had on offense since Herbert was drafted. If Mike Williams misses his typical four to six games or Keenan Allen gets beat up these two could keep the offense humming until the unit is at full strength.
Pick 123: Myles Brooks Cornerback Louisiana Tech
Myles Brooks comes in listed as a CB but he plays more like a physical free safety. He can track the ball over the field then once he gets there, and he has great ball skills when he gets there. Adding another lengthy ball hawk to this team could be the addition they were looking in the JC Jackson signing.
This tweet was a part of a thread so there are some extra highlights in here. Besides that, standing at 6-2, Brooks can play the deep part of the field with great awareness. He does have issues shifting his hips and making quick adjustments at the line or in the box. Utilization will be key when it comes to his success.
Pick 154: Habakkuk Baldonado EDGE Pittsburgh
General Managers are just taking shots at guys with tools and traits at this point and Baldonado has those. Profiling at 6-5 260 pounds, the Pittsburgh product is fair from finished but he has shown the ability to get home.
A big negative in his game is his lack of a second move he doesn’t have a pass-rush bag. He relies on brute strength and initial movement but if he is redirected he has issues making a second move. Adding Baldonado to Bosa and Khalil Mack could give them a secondary pass rush that they lack.
Pick 187 PJ Mustipher Defensive Tackle Penn State
I not going to act like PJ can be a game-changer but I did see a viable nose tackle on rushing downs. Much of the negative in his game stems from the lack of pass rush he can contribute to but the Chargers have elite pass rushers and have struggled to control the middle of the line of scrimmage. Mustipher could anchor this line and keep it from getting pushed up front.
PJ tends to struggle against double teams but if he is doing enough at the NFL level to warrant a double team this is a productive last pick in the 2023 class. He doesn’t need to win doubles or add special pass-rushing abilities he just needs to stand up centers and guards.
This class includes WR Kayshon Boutte, OT Jaelyn Duncan, LB Ivan Pace JR, TE Luke Musgrave, CB Myles Brooks, EDGE Habakkuk Baldonaldo, and DT PJ Mustipher. I think three of these guys could have Week One impact while the other will show contributions throughout the 2023 season.