Chargers first-round selection: Alex Leatherwood, tackle, Alabama
Defensive tackle is not a need, safety is not a need, linebacker is not a need (though all three could be improved). The only other positions you could make a case for are quarterback, wide receiver, and corner.
Well, the Chargers love Easton Stick, so quarterback isn’t happening until they at least see how he plays on Sunday’s. Wide receiver is deep in the 2020 draft class, so there is no reason to take one early unless all the good offensive linemen are gone. Cornerback is a need, but not a first-round need with Casey Hayward and Desmond King playing as lights out as they are.
No, offensive tackle is the move here. The clear move. Russell Okung is a Pro Bowl left tackle, but he is getting up there in age and just got through a near-death experience. There is no telling how much longer he’ll play. My guess is, he worked very hard to get back to the Chargers, so maybe two or three years. It’s right tackle that is a problem. Trey Pipkins III showed out against the Oakland Raiders and Kansas City Chiefs, proving he was the second-best tackle on the roster behind Okung. Pipkins still needs some development, but he showed he can start in this league.
However, it is limited work for Pipkins. There is no telling that he remains consistent, and even if he does, Leatherwood is the perfect pick here due to his versatility. Leatherwood could easily move inside to guard and have no problems. In fact, similar to Forrest Lamp, Leatherwood is seen as a guard by many NFL teams, due to his success at right guard in 2018.
What would Chargers fans give to see a tackle be selected in the first round on draft day? Will it happen? There’s no way it doesn’t happen, right? That aside, Leatherwood displays athleticism that is surprising due to his size and power. To have a blend of both agility and power is definitely a great first step in being an elite tackle.