The 2022 NFL Draft is under a month away and the LA Chargers are looking to continue the momentum from a headline-garnering offseason. With Justin Herbert on his rookie deal, the Bolts have the rare elite quarterback rookie window that could lead to the first Super Bowl in franchise history. Having a good showing in the 2022 NFL Draft is an important part in capitalizing on that window.
There are many different directions that the Bolts could go with the 17th overall pick. More so than other years, the Chargers have options. The team could trade up, trade down or could select a myriad of prospects at 17. It all depends on who the team ranks highly on the board and who is still available at 17.
There are a lot of good directions that the team can take and some not-so-great directions as well. Some fans want the team to address one side of the ball, while other fans prefer the opposite. That is what makes this draft so intriguing in the build-up. One person may think that the worst mistake the Chargers could make is actually the best thing the team could do. When it comes down to it, there is one decision that seems plausible that would actually be a mistake for LA.
The biggest mistake the LA Chargers can make in the 2022 NFL Draft is selecting Jameson Williams with the 17th overall pick.
This is going to be controversial to some as there is a lot of intrigue around Jameson Williams and the Chargers this season. That is fine, there has been buzz about the Chargers taking a quarterback in the first round the last two seasons. Taking a receiver at 17 does seem to be one of the least likely outcomes for the Bolts, but it is possible.
Those in favor of taking Williams at 17 will point at the best teams in the league last season. They will point at Ja'Marr Chase and Joe Burrow. At Cooper Kupp and Matt Stafford. At all of the weapons that Patrick Mahomes has had.
The Chargers have good weapons. There is a weird phenomenon that happens in the offseason. During the season, Charger fans back their players and constantly bring up how underrated Keenan Allen and the rest of the receiving corps is. Yet in the offseason, those same fans discredit the receiving corps to justify taking a receiver.
Taking a wide receiver is not the mistake here. If Garrett Wilson is there at 17 then the Bolts should jump all over it. Taking Williams is the mistake. For those unaware, Williams tore his ACL in the National Championship Game in January. Some had him as the WR1 prior to his injury, now, he will likely be the third receiver taken.
That may seem like great value to take the projected WR1 at 17 because of an injury but it goes against everything the Chargers are trying to accomplish. The Bolts are trying to capitalize on this contending window now and taking someone who just tore his ACL is not the way to do that.
We likely won't see Williams in an NFL game until December at the very earliest. Sure, he was great in college, but banking on a receiver to come off of an ACL injury and instantly be a big weapon in a playoff push without ever playing an NFL snap is a bit far-fetched.
Yes, the Chargers need speed but they can get that speed later in the draft. Calvin Austin is an extremely intriguing prospect that could be there in round three. If not Austin, there are even free-agent options who can add speed to the receivers room.
Perhaps the biggest driving factor of taking Williams is how good he could be. Sure, the Chargers would be sacrificing his rookie season but the ceiling is so high after that. I get that. My problem with that logic is that there are elite receivers in every single draft class.
If the Chargers are taking Williams with a two-year plan in mind then they might as well pass on him this year and take a first-round receiver next year. It is always easy to fall in love with the receivers in the current draft class and not look ahead to the future. Heck, Charger fans did it last year.
By taking Williams, the Chargers would essentially be going into the 2022 season without a first or second-round pick (traded in the Khalil Mack trade) from the most recent draft. Those are the two most likely rounds that can actually contribute in year one. Why make a pick that plans for the future when you can make a pick that increases the Super Bowl odds now while also still having a future option down the line?
Williams is a really good prospect and there is a good chance that he has a great NFL career. If he didn't tear his ACL it would be a different conversation.