The Los Angeles Chargers nailed their first-round picks in the 2020 NFL Draft when they selected Justin Herbert and Kenneth Murray with their top two selections. Now, with a franchise quarterback in Herbert at their disposal, the 2021 NFL Draft will be all about building around him and transforming the team into a true contender.
The Chargers are at a disadvantage, as they play against the Chiefs in the AFC West, but they certainly have the core pieces needed to make a playoff run. They’ll need to solidify their defense and plug their major holes on offense — the offensive line stands out, in particular — but they are armed with nine picks overall. If they draft well for a second straight year, they could become a contender in the team’s first year under Brandon Staley.
Here’s a look at the Chargers’ picks in the 2021 NFL Draft:
Chargers draft picks 2021: When does Los Angeles pick?
- Round 1, Pick No. 13: Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern
- Round 2, Pick No. 47: Asante Samuel Jr, CB, Florida State
- Round 3, Pick No. 77: Josh Palmer, WR, Tennessee
- Round 3, Pick No. 97: Tre’ McKitty, TE, Georgia
- Round 4, Pick No. 118: Chris Rumph II, LB, Duke
- Round 5, Pick No. 159
- Round 6, Pick No. 185
- Round 6, Pick No. 198
- Round 7, Pick No. 241
Chargers 2021 NFL Draft order
|3||34 (Compensatory Selection)|
|6||1 (from Jaguars through Titans)|
Chargers NFL Draft needs
- Offensive line: The Chargers already signed the top center on the market (Corey Linsley) and one of the more versatile starting offensive linemen available (Matt Feiler). Still, they have a hole at left tackle, where Trey Pipkins is currently slated to start. Landing a guy like Rashawn Slater or Christian Darrisaw at 13 would fill a massive need for the team.
- Cornerback: Casey Hayward is gone, so the Chargers need to find a long-term starter across from Michael Davis and slot-man Chris Harris.
- Edge rusher: Melvin Ingram became a free agent this offseason and the Chargers may not want to bring back the injury-prone veteran. Uchenna Nwosu can replace him across from Joey Bosa, but more depth in needed in that area.
- Running back: Can Austin Ekeler, Justin Jackson, and Joshua Kelley form a solid RB triage? Maybe. But if the Chargers wanted to add some extra pop to the backfield or a player with a combination of size and speed, they could certainly do that.
- Tight end: Jared Cook is 35, so he’s only a short-term solution for the Chargers. They should draft and develop a backup to compete with Donald Parham for playing time.
Los Angeles Chargers mock draft 2021
Here are the latest 2021 NFL Draft projections for the Chargers, according to Vinnie Iyer’s seven-round mock draft:
|2||15||Dillon Radunz||OT||North Dakota State|
|3||14||Shaun Wade||CB||Ohio State|
|6||1||Sadarius Hutcherson||G||South Carolina|
|6||14||Bobby Brown||DT||Texas A&M|