LA Chargers take Ja’Marr Chase in December mock draft

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(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) – LA Chargers
(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) – LA Chargers /

With just three weeks until the season ends, who could the LA Chargers select in the 2021 NFL Draft?

The end of the 2020 NFL season is quickly approaching. Current, the LA Chargers sit with with fourth pick according to the official NFL Draft rankings. In my November mock draft, I had the Chargers taking Patrick Surtain with the fifth pick.

While the Chargers do have the fourth pick, I’m using TDN’s mock draft machine which currently has them fifth behind Dallas. It’s not a huge deal anyway since Los Angeles will probably go up and down the draft rankings several times before the end of the season. By next month’s mock draft, we’ll know for sure what position the Chargers are in.

Let’s get it cracking.

With the fifth pick, the LA Chargers select…

5. 817. . Wide Receiver. Ja'Marr Chase

Remember that my mocks tend to be a combination of what I think the Chargers will do and the players that fit. I’m not the biggest fan of picking Ja’Marr Chase with the fifth pick and certainly understand why others are hesitant.

There are bigger needs for the Chargers in the first round, but there may not be a better value. Unless Tom Telesco decides to trade down in the first round, an offensive lineman with Penei Sewell off the board doesn’t make much sense at No. 5.

This mock also has Patrick Surtain off the board to Dallas, which leaves the Chargers with Caleb Farley. Farley fits the needs criteria for the Los Angeles, but I’m not sure it’s great value when he tends to go around No. 10 in most mocks.

Fans should be all for the Chargers trading down and getting the capital they want with teams trading up for a quarterback. But Chase is a logical Telesco pick if the Bolts do stay in the top five.

Let’s also give Chase credit. He’s the best wide receiver in this draft. While fans will complain about taking a receiver in the top 10, Chase is no Henry Ruggs or John Ross. He’s not some one-trick pony receiver getting propped up by a fast 40 time.

Justin Jefferson is arguably the best rookie in the league right now and Chase outplayed him last year at LSU. He has freak athleticism, good speed, and great route running.

He also doesn’t have the injury concerns that someone like Mike Williams had as a top 10 pick back in 2017. Speaking of Williams, the Chargers must have a plan to replace him in future seasons if he’s not brought back after next season.

The other receivers on the roster are Tyron Johnson, Jalen Guyton, K.J. Hill, and Joe Reed. None of those guys will be ready to play the second wide receiver role anytime soon.

Telesco also tends to go with the best player available in the first round instead of reaching. Sure, he’ll take a chance on a project like Trey Pipkins later on. On day one of the draft, Telesco has usually gone with who he thinks is BPA.

Justin Herbert, Jerry Tillery, Derwin James, Mike Williams, and Joey Bosa are his last five first-round picks. They all went around where they were projected to go in terms of pick value instead of being reached for.

Also, keep the AFC West arms race in mind. Las Vegas and Denver have spent quite a bit of draft capital to surround Derek Carr and Drew Lock with weapons. It’s all an attempt to create an offense that can ultimately keep up with Kansas City. While I wouldn’t necessarily love the selection of Chase, the possibility of creating a Herbert-Allen-Chase-Williams-Henry-Ekeler offense is incredibly tantalizing.

The hesitation of some Chargers fans around a first-round receiver is understandable. I’m not fully bought into the idea myself. If the team doesn’t trade down though, Chase is the Telesco pick at five without being a reach.

Wide receiver isn’t quite the need that offensive line and cornerback are, but those can be addressed in later rounds without wasting value here.

With Sewell and Surtain off the board, Chase makes a lot more sense for the Bolts than fans give him credit for.