Chargers shockingly don’t move in CBS Sports post-draft power rankings

Rashawn Slater #70 of the Northwestern Wildcats (Photo by Corey Perrine/Getty Images)
Rashawn Slater #70 of the Northwestern Wildcats (Photo by Corey Perrine/Getty Images) /

By all accounts, the Chargers had an excellent 2021 NFL Draft, yet that wasn’t enough to convince CBS Sports’ NFL power rankings.

Perhaps CBS Sports NFL writer Pete Prisco wasn’t paying attention, but the Los Angeles Chargers had an awfully excellent NFL Draft.

Prisco’s post-2021 NFL Draft power rankings didn’t give the Bolts any climb despite the first-round addition of Northwestern offensive tackle Rashawn Slater at No. 13 overall and the Round 2 grab of Florida State cornerback Asante Samuel Jr.

Sure, neither player has stepped foot on an NFL field just yet. And both remain unknowns, as does every other prospect selected between April 29 and May 1. But if he’s doing movement based on which teams had the best draft classes, Los Angeles surely deserves to climb up at least a few spots.

Prisco’s placement? No. 19… no movement from where the Chargers were before the draft:

They did a lot of good things to improve the offense around Justin Herbert, especially up front on the offensive line. There will be at least three new starters, which had to happen.

At least Prisco was correct about that. Pro Football Focus ranked the Bolts O-line dead last at the end of 2020, which prompted the wholesale changes up front, including Slater at left tackle, former Green Bay Packers center Corey Linsley onboarded and then the additions of fellow linemen Matt Feiler and Oday Aboushi. Tack on the fifth-round addition of Nebraska’s versatile Brenden Jaimes, and LA’s O-line can’t possibly be any worse than it was a year ago.

And even by projection alone, the Chargers should see some substantial improvement over what was the NFL’s No. 18-ranked scoring offense from a year ago.

Broncos ranked above the Chargers? Seriously?

OK, so maybe the Bolts need to prove their offseason and NFL Draft moves are going to pan out. And it’s fine to let Los Angeles’ AFC West division rivals, the Kansas City Chiefs, be at No. 2 in the power rankings behind the Super Bowl-winning Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Yet Prisco placed the Denver Broncos at No. 17, moving them up four spots from their previous mark and now above the Chargers.

If nothing else, that’s surely questionable.

The Broncos had a successful draft class, yes, headlined by Alabama cornerback Patrick Surtain II in Round 1. But in a quarterback-driven league, which signal-caller would you rather enter the season with under center, the Chargers’ Justin Herbert or the Broncos’ tandem of Drew Lock and Teddy Bridgewater?

Thought so.

Either way, Prisco’s rankings are just opinions and nothing more. It’ll be up to the Bolts to put things all together on the field with their new faces, hopefully getting the offense into a high-functioning unit while the defense picks up a step with a reinforced secondary.

And on the plus side, at least the Las Vegas Raiders were ranked 25th.

Next. Grading every AFC West team's 2021 offseason