Fresh off a surprising playoff appearance, the Los Angeles Chargers didn’t need to address much in free agency. This team is set up well to contend moving forward.
Instead, offseason is all about general manager Tom Telesco and Co. acing the draft once again. It’s an area this team has had a ton of success with over the past few years.
It’s in this that we give you our full seven round 2019 NFL Mock Draft for the Chargers.
1. Dalton Risner, offensive tackle, Kansas State
As of right now, the Chargers are slated to have Sam Tevi starting at right tackle. The former sixth-round pick from Utah played well in that role last season. Even then, Los Angeles could use both depth and talent at tackle. After all, Russell Okung is not getting any younger.
Risner figures to be a Day 1 starter in the NFL. At 6-foot-5 and 300 pounds, he plays much bigger than his size. He’s punishing at the point of contact and could easily move inside if need be. This is pretty much a perfect fit.
2. Amani Hooker, safety, Iowa
Now that the Chargers have two centerpieces in the secondary in the form of Desmond King and Derwin James, it’s time to add a true strong safety to the mix. Sure Los Angeles re-signed Adrian Phillips in free agency. But his deal was of the short-term variety.
In Hooker, Los Angeles would be adding a true in-the-box strong safety with an ability to cover the slot at times. His ability to do the latter makes Hooker a perfect complement to James.
3. Khalen Saunders, defensive tackle, Western Illinois
An absolute freak of nature during the 2019 Senior Bowl, Saunders vaulted up draft boards big time. The 6-foot, 324-pound defensive tackle followed that up with the 11th-best 40 time at his position during the NFL Scouting Combine. Saunders is for real.
As it relates to a potential fit, Los Angeles is still relying on veteran Brandon Mebane. Saunders could slide in as a top backup for the 2019 season before ultimately taking over the starting job early in his career.
4. DaMarkus Lodge, wide receiver, Mississippi
The Chargers are sure to be looking for a wide receiver after losing Tyrell Williams in free agency. As of right now, Keenan Allen, Mike Williams and Travis Benjamin are the team’s top-three players at that position. While not a major priority, exhausting a mid-round pick on a developmental prospect could work.
That’s where Lodge comes into play. The former Ole Miss standout isn’t anywhere near the same sexy prospect as former teammates D.K. Metcalf and A.J. Brown. But he has what it takes to make it in the NFL. The 6-foot-2 pass catcher hauled in 65 receptions for 877 yards last season.
5. Kendall Sheffield, cornerback, Ohio State
If Sheffield had not suffered a torn pectoral muscle during the combine, he was likely looking at being a late second-round pick or early third-round selection. With this injury concern, he falls to the mid rounds. Los Angeles couldn’t have asked for better news.
Even with Casey Hayward and Desmond King as their starting corners, the Chargers could certainly use depth. That’s magnified by Sheffield’s ability to play slot. Both Hayward and Trevor Williams have been utilized more frequently on the outside. Meanwhile, King is a jack-of-all-trades type in the secondary.
6. Brett Rypien, quarterback, Boise State
We had previously focused on the Chargers’ need to find a quarterback of the future. Instead, the team added Tyrod Taylor to be Philip Rivers’ primary backup. While we stopped short of going quarterback early in this mock, Rypien can be a developmental No. 3 quarterback behind Rivers and Taylor.
While Rypien might be a bit short by NFL standards (6-foot-2), he already boasts pro-ready mechanics and is about as accurate as they come. He doesn’t necessarily have a strong arm, but can make pretty much all the throws. That’s what you ask for in a development prospect.
7. Kendall Joseph, linebacker, Clemson
Will Joseph ever transform into an NFL-level starter? That’s highly unlikely given his lack of physical skills. But he has the experience and ability to be a top-end backup and special teams contributor. In need of depth at this position, the Chargers could do a lot worse in Round 7.