With the LA Chargers now firmly entrenched in the top five of the draft, it’s time to see what direction they might go in.
The LA Chargers‘ 2020 season has quickly gone the wrong way with three consecutive losses in recent weeks. Now that they sit at 2-7, it makes more sense to talk about their offseason than any potential playoff run.
The most crucial aspect of the 2021 offseason is the draft. Next year’s free agency may be hampered by a declining salary cap, so affordable draft talent might be the most important that it’s ever been.
Luckily for the Chargers, they’ll have quite a bit of draft capital to work with. The Bolts are projected to have nine picks, which would be the most they’ve had since 2004. That was of course the infamous Eli Manning draft where they racked up 11 picks.
The Chargers added a 2020 sixth round pick from the Desmond King trade and most likely will receive a compensatory third round pick from Philip Rivers’ departure.
There is a bit of a discrepancy between The Draft Network’s mock draft machine and the NFL’s official draft order. TDN currently has the Chargers picking five while NFL.com has them picking at four. I’ll be using the mock draft machine for the purposes of this article. Either way, it wouldn’t change my first pick.
With the fifth pick in the NFL draft, the LA Chargers select…
Given the Chargers’ current position, this is a no brainer for me. They’re not currently high enough to select Penei Sewell, barring a trade up in the draft. Other than addressing the offensive line, cornerback is arguably the most pressing need. Casey Hayward‘s performance has declined and the only two cornerbacks signed through next season are Hayward and Chris Harris.
Surtain reminds me of Antonio Cromartie in terms of his physical build and aggressive ball skills. NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah has likened him to Byron Jones.
If you’re looking for a lockdown corner in this draft, I’m not sure you’ll find a better developed product than Surtain. Caleb Farley projects as a top 10 cornerback, but his stock might’ve taken a slight hit after deciding to not play 2020. I would be fine if the Chargers traded down to draft him.
Surtain’s coverage style is patient and he’s clinical in his route diagnosis ability. I don’t think you’ll find a better cornerback in college football that smothers opposing receivers and leaves them such little space. He also greatly affects the size of the opposing quarterback’s throwing window.
A lockdown cornerback of the future is what the Chargers need, and that’s what they’ll find at five with the son of former All-Pro Patrick Surtain Sr.