Chargers Draft

5 early-round strategies for the Chargers in the 2022 NFL Draft

By Ben Knudson
NFL Combine - Day 1
NFL Combine - Day 1 / Michael Hickey/GettyImages
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The LA Chargers shocked the NFL landscape by adding Khalil Mack and J.C. Jackson over along with interior D-linemen Sebastian Joseph-Day and Austin Johnson. Those moves instantly make the defense better than it was in 2021 and allow for the Chargers to have some more flexibility in the draft.

There are currently some needs that still need to be addressed, most notably, right tackle, but the team looks to be better off right now than it was at the end of the 2021-22 season. It is impossible to say exactly what the Chargers are going to do in the NFL Draft this year, but they certainly have options to help build a more solidified roster.

LA Chargers draft strategy #1: Draft a right tackle at 17

Signing a veteran right tackle did not work out well for the chargers in 2020. There are very few, relatively inexpensive free agent right tackles available that don't have question marks right now. Eric Fisher played well last year for the Colts in the run game but wasn't his best in pass protection. He could still receive a large contract that could sway away teams like the Chargers.

The same goes for Duane Brown. Picking up a rookie at pick 17 could be a good option. Trevor Penning will likely be available at 17. The issue with him isn't his physical traits, it's the fact that he played at the FCS level and the jump to the NFL could take some time before he becomes a starting level player.

It is highly unlikely that another top tackle falls to pick 17. Evan Neal and Ickey Ekwonu are both solidly in the top 10 and should be long gone before the Chargers are on the clock. Charles Cross is the other option that could be available at 17.

This would be the likely direction that the Chargers go if Penning and Cross are both available at 17 due to his experience at the SEC level. Brandon Staley has previously been infatuated with prospects who play other great prospects. Rashawn Slater's performance versus Chase Young at Northwestern and Joshua Palmer's great games for Tennessee against elite SEC defensive backs seem to give Staley a good gauge to see how competitive and athletic potential players are. Cross's experience at Mississippi State likely gives him the edge over Penning.