The LA Chargers have a very outside chance of making the NFL Playoffs this season so many fans have already turned to the upcoming offseason. The biggest storyline is around if Brandon Staley gets fired (and who would replace him) but that has not taken all the attention away from the 2024 NFL Draft.
Due to previous draft mistakes resulting in an unbalanced roster, the Chargers really have to hit a home run in the 2024 NFL Draft if the team is going to be competitive. The team doesn't just need a solid first-round pick, it needs to land several impact players that can help in some phase of the game.
While there is still a long time between now and the 2024 NFL Draft, draft experts are still putting together mock drafts to predict what will happen. CBS Sports' Chris Trapasso recently put together a full first-round mock draft and with no disrespect to Trapasso, he has the Chargers making a disastrous pick 12th overall.
Chargers select Jer'Zhan Newton in CBS Sports NFL mock draft
For those who are unaware, Jer'Zhan Newton is an Auburn interior defensive lineman and he is considered to be one of the best, if not the best, interior defensive line prospects in the draft. Trapasso's explanation of the pick leaned into this and was really quite simple.
"The most sought after interior rusher goes to the team with the biggest need on the inside of its defensive front."
That may make some sense on paper but it would be a terrible selection nonetheless for the Chargers. Los Angeles has several first-round needs that are far greater than interior defensive line and taking a prospect that ranks 28th on CBS Sports' big board probably isn't a great move.
Cornerback and tight end are the two most likely positions to be taken in the first round simply from a needs standpoint. Taking a wide receiver is even more likely than an interior defensive lineman. Running back is a bigger need, but should be taken later in the draft.
Plus, the Chargers may be struggling some on the interior defensive line but it is by no means as bad as it used to be. This is a take from two years ago that is still living in 2023. It isn't the strong point of the team, but this is not the historically bad Chargers run defense of 2021. It is not great, but it is not terrible.
If anything, the Chargers have solid pass-rushing interior defensive linemen (Morgan Fox) and young players with potential that is untapped (Otito Ogbonnia and Scott Matlock). Could the team add a late-round prospect or a veteran to the room next year to replace Austin Johnson? Sure. Is it a first-round need? Not in the slightest.
It is nothing against Jer'Zhan Newton, either. Newton is a solid prospect who has the makings to be a solid pro. But he just doesn't make much sense for the Chargers in the 2024 NFL Draft.