Contrary to popular belief, the Chargers have actually excelled in the NFL Draft since the 2010s started, well at least to their standards. Since the dawn of the last decade, Los Angeles/San Diego has drafted a Pro Bowl level player in eight of the last 12 drafts. This also includes when the Bolts traded up in the 2020 draft to select Kenneth Murray Jr.
Compare this to the 2000’s when San Diego landed just three Pro Bowl level players and only one (Junior Seau) in the 1990’s. While the Chargers have had some solid success at the top of the draft, this has not translated into a lot of playoff appearances (just two in that timespan).
So with the upcoming draft nearly here, we take a look at how the Bolts can change this trend while also continuing with the habits that have served them well in the past.
The 2022 NFL Draft game plans that would be a mistake for the Chargers:
Mistake No. 1: Not sticking to your first round strategy
As mentioned at the top of this article, Los Angeles has performed well in the past when it comes to acing first-round selections. In the last six NFL Drafts, the Chargers have selected two All-Pro players (Derwin James and Rashawn Slater) and two NFL Rookie of the Year winners (Justin Hebert and Joey Bosa).
This group also includes wide receiver Mike Williams (2017) who has two 1,000-yard seasons to his name and 26 touchdowns in five seasons with L.A. While there have been some picks that the jury is still out on (Jerry Tillery and Murray), the Chargers have done a fine job of finding talent at the top of the draft.
So with all of this in mind, it does not take a rocket scientist to figure out that the Bolts will be focusing on offensive line help in the upcoming draft. Fans should rest somewhat easily knowing that general manager Tom Telesco will be able to find a solid replacement for Bryan Bulaga if the quality of player is there.
However, if the Bolts are going into this draft and deviate from this game plan, it could prove to be costly for them. Many Chargers mock drafts have pointed to Los Angeles trading up and selecting Charles Cross of Mississippi State (Peter King) or Zion Johnson of Boston College after a hypothetical trade with Kansas City (Todd McShay). Also, the “most accurate mock drafter of the last five years,” Brendan Donahue of Sharp Football Analysis, has the Chargers selecting Northern Iowa tackle Trevor Penning with their choice at 17.