Mistake No. 2: Missing out on talent in the mid-rounds
Though the Bolts have done well at finding primo talent in the first round, their selections in the mid-rounds the last couple of years have left much to be desired. After trading away their 2022 second-round pick in the Khalil Mack trade, Los Angeles has to work with one pick in the third round (No. 79), one pick in the fourth (No. 123) and one pick in the fifth (No. 160). So with only three selections in the mid-rounds, L.A. must be very careful in making sure they are focusing on players that can provide instant value, which is obviously much easier said than done.
Over the last five NFL Drafts, not including 2021, the Chargers have had a spotty track record of finding talent past the first round. In 2016, while they did find success with tight end Hunter Henry (second round), the Bolts missed out on picks with the selections of Max Tuerk in the third (only one NFL game played) and Joshua Perry (waived after one season).
The 2017 draft was a little better when the Bolts found gold in the Desmond King selection (fifth round, was an All-Pro in 2018) and also picked up Rayshawn Jenkins in the fourth (61 games played, 32 starts). However, the Chargers missed on their pick of Forrest Lamp in the second round (18 starts in three seasons with the team). Of course, no draft is perfect, but this was actually a solid one for the Bolts.
In the 2018 edition of the draft, the Chargers found some diamonds in the rough with the selections of Justin Jones (third round) and Kyzir White (fourth), albeit neither of these players will be sporting the Bolts’ powder blues jersey next season. In fact, what’s interesting about this draft is that only one player (Derwin James) is still with L.A.
The jury is still out on the majority of the 2019 and 2020 draft choices, but the Chargers have found some valuable starters thus far. This list includes Nasir Adderly (second round, 2019) and Drue Tranquill (fourth round, 2019) along with occasional fill-ins like Trey Pipkins (third round, 2019) and Joe Reed (fifth round, 2020). The Chargers have a lot of top-end talent on their roster, but these mid-round selections will be crucial in providing Los Angeles with depth in 2022.