LA Chargers select Patrick Surtain in first 2021 mock draft

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(Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)
(Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images) /

With the 37th pick, the LA Chargers select…

Offensive Tackle. Alex Leatherwood. 37. 829.

Over the course of the summer, Alex Leatherwood was probably regarded as a mid to late first round pick. He may still be that, but for the time being he’s regarded as a late first/early second round selection in most mocks.

The Chargers absolutely have to address the offensive line. Sam Tevi, Dan Feeney, Forrest Lamp and Cole Toner are all free agents after the season. Trai Turner only has one year on his contract left. If you’re not in position to grab Sewell in that top five, there has to be a quality prospect they take in the second or third round.

One of Leatherwood’s qualities that I find really appealing is that he can play inside or outside on the line. Many analysts are unsure of whether he’s a guard or tackle on the next level, but the Chargers might need both over a long term. He’d likely start his career at tackle from the get-go.

Other than maybe two or three tackles in the first round, I’m not sure there’s any that match Leatherwood’s combination of aggressiveness and first step out of the break. His actual blocking moves could use some tightening up, but he’s got a lot to like at the NFL level in his game right now.

With the 69th pick, the LA Chargers select…

817. . Interior Defensive Line. Tyler Shelvin. 69

Edge rusher might be what a lot of people talk about coming into the draft with the potential Melvin Ingram departure, but addressing the interior line is also important. The Chargers’ rush defense has been abysmal. Part of it is missing Joey Bosa in the last few games, but it was bad prior to that.

Linval Joseph and Justin Jones have been weirdly adequate on an individual basis. Looking at their PFF numbers or statistics, you’re not going to find something garish that sticks out. Rotationally, it could be a lot better though. Jerry Tillery struggles against the run are known and depth could be better. Joseph and Jones are also free agents after next season.

Tyler Shelvin might receiver some flack in the draft process for opting out of the 2020 season, but that doesn’t take away his ability to stuff the run. He was the highest graded SEC run defender in 2019 and was the third highest ranked defensive tackle in the conference by PFF.

The Chargers already have guys like Bosa, Tillery, Uchenna Nwosu, and to some extent Ingram that can get after the pass. More run stuffers on the interior is a must.

With the 97th pick, the Chargers select…

804. . Safety. Hamsah Nasirildeen. 97

Versatility, versatility, versatility. Hamsah Nasirildeen would be an awesome pick for the Chargers in the later rounds. Frankly, it wouldn’t be crazy to draft him higher.

Nasirildeen is listed as a safety, but he does so much more than just that. He can rush the passer very effectively, as Florida State brings him on the blitz pretty often. Think about what the Chargers used to do with Desmond King in the box, except now imagine if King was 6’4″ and weighed 220 pounds.

He has great coverage instincts even if he doesn’t have the best ball skills. What this defense really needs is more aggressive tacklers, as six Chargers missed tackles in the game against Miami last week. Nasirildeen attacks ball carriers with purpose like he’s looking to make the carrier or receiver lose the ball.

The best thing about Nasirildeen is he isn’t painted into one corner as a player. He can do a lot of things and be that defensive wild card. He’s not going to be a starting safety on a team with Derwin James, but he can contribute at all levels on the defense in certain spots.

Last week, Nasirildeen made his return from a late 2019 ACL tear. That may come up in the Chargers’ evaluations of him given other injuries of the team, but I think it’s worth it to take a chance here on such a dynamic, physical defender.