There are so many different directions the 2021 NFL Draft could go that will impact who the LA Chargers draft with the 13th overall pick. Will it be a cornerback? Offensive lineman? Will they make the mistake of taking a wide receiver instead of either of those players?
We will know the answer for certain on April 29, but until then, we are deep in the waters of mock draft season.
Bolt Beat has hopped on the bandwagon and done various different mock drafts all with the purpose of exploring different possibilities. What will the draft look like if the Chargers trade up for Penei Sewell? If they select Jaycee Horn at 13? If they go nearly all defense to help Brandon Staley create something new?
But what about the rest of the draft world? Who do some of the draft experts think will wind up in LA with the 13th overall pick? We looked at the landscape back in March but a lot has changed since then with various trades in the first 12 picks, as well as pro days and other various order-changing events.
We looked at 10 different recent mock drafts from various outlets and ranked the prospects by how often they appeared.
Who the experts think the LA Chargers will draft in the 2021 NFL Draft:
1. Rashawn Slater (Four mock draft selections)
- Mel Kiper, ESPN (Subscription required)
- Ron Rang, FOX Sports
- Randy Gurzi, NFL Spin Zone
- Brad Weiss, FanSided
Rashawn Slater is the second-best offensive tackle prospect in this draft behind Penei Sewell and some even have him as the best in front of Sewell. In each of these mock drafts, all but one team ahead of the Chargers selected a skill position player instead of getting offensive line help.
It certainly is possible but it would take several things going the Chargers’ way. It would be interesting to see what the Bolts would do if Slater was available at 13. He is a great talent, but he also projects to slide into the interior. The team needs a tackle.
Do the Bolts simply take the best offensive lineman on the board and figure it out later? Do they trade down and get more capital and select another player on this list? The right answer is to select Slater and figure it out, but if the Bolts really value size, it will be an interesting debate.
2 (TIED). Christian Darrisaw (Two mock draft selections)
Christian Darrisaw is undoubtedly going to be available for the LA Chargers at 13 and is essentially the backup plan if Slater does go in the first 12 picks. These two mock drafts illustrate that perfectly as Slater was picked in the top 12 and the team then opted to go with Darrisaw.
Darrisaw is bigger and fits the profile of a left tackle far more than Slater does. And while Slater is the better prospect and is extremely talented, that does not take away from the fact that Darrisaw is solid as well.
At worst, the Chargers should be getting an average left tackle at the NFL. However, with his size and physicality, the sky is the limit for Darrisaw.
2 (TIED). Jaycee Horn (Two mock draft selections)
Jaycee Horn tied with Christian Darrisaw and if both players are on the board at 13 I would not be shocked whatsoever if the team selects Horn. Personally, I would select Darrisaw. But knowing Telesco’s draft history and the fact that the team has a defensive-minded head coach it would make sense for them to take a corner.
Horn has all of the skills that Brandon Staley values in a cornerback and is freakishly athletic as well. The debate has even emerged whether or not Horn is the best cornerback prospect in this draft, which he was not considered to be before.
It is important to note that Ryan McCrystal was brought in by Warren Sharp to do mock drafts on Sharp Football Analysis because he has recently been one of the most accurate mock drafters in the media.
That makes Horn’s two selections more valuable than Darrisaw’s two selections.
4. Patrick Surtain (One mock draft selection)
- Mike Crum, Yahoo Sports
Patrick Surtain is widely regarded as the best cornerback prospect in this draft (unless you value Horn more) and one mock draft had him falling all the way to the Chargers at 13. Just like Horn, Charger fans can be happy with this pick, even if it is not an offensive lineman.
In this specific mock draft, Horn is the number one cornerback prospect. He is taken ninth overall by the Denver Broncos, allowing Surtain to instead fall to the Chargers with the 13th overall selection.
5. Alijah Vera-Tucker (One mock draft selection)
- Nate Davis, USA Today
Alijah Vera-Tucker had a lot of hype surrounding him and the LA Chargers when mock draft season first started. AVT played left tackle at USC and certainly has some of the best technique in this draft, perhaps even better than Darrisaw.
However, the more his measurables have come out the clearer it is that he probably cannot stay on the outside at the next level and will revert to guard. He is essentially in the same boat as Slater, who is a more polished and exciting prospect.
Personally, I would be shocked if the team takes AVT over Darrisaw if they are both on the board at 13. In fact, in this mock draft, Patrick Surtain, Jaycee Horn and Christian Darrisaw were all on the board and the LA Chargers selected Alijah Vera-Tucker.