Chargers drafting dream first-round talent in second round is now possible

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

There has been a lot of debate about what the Chargers should do with the fifth overall pick. Camps are split between taking the best receiver available (likely Malik Nabers) or capitalizing on this quarterback-heavy class to draft back and pick up extra draft picks.

Regardless of what the Chargers do, it is important to not underestimate the importance of the team's second-round pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. As a top-40 pick, the Chargers can land a truly special draft prospect who becomes just as impactful as the team's first-round pick.

Very early on in the draft process, Oregon's Jackson Powers-Johnson emerged as fans' dream selection with the 37th pick. However, after a stellar showing at the Senior Bowl, Powers-Johnson climbed up the draft boards and seemingly cemented himself as a first-round pick.

Chargers fans gave up on the dream of Powers-Johnson being a realistic option but that dream may not have to end after all. According to ESPN's Matt Miller, NFL teams are not as high on Powers-Johnson as draft social media appears to be, which opens the door for him to fall into the second round.

Chargers may actually have a chance to draft Jackson Powers-Johnson

Pro Football Focus ranks Powers-Johnson as the 24th-best prospect in the 2024 NFL Draft. If Powers-Johnson ends up falling lower than that ranking then it is absolutely in the realm of possibility that he can be on the board with the 37th pick.

If so, the Chargers would have no other option than to take the exciting Oregon center. There is no denying that he is the best center in this draft class and even though he may fall, it does not change the fact that he is as good as a center prospect can be coming into the league.

The reason for Jackson-Powers falling in the draft is likely positional value. Centers traditionally don't get taken in the first round and the fact that Jackson-Powers is even in the conversation is a testament to how special he is.

General manager Joe Hortiz has said that he believes in taking the best player available and there is no denying that Powers-Johnson would be the best player on the board if he is still there are 37. It might not be as sexy as taking a skill position player, but it would be the most impactful selection possible.

Signing Bradley Bozeman to a one-year deal should not deter the Chargers from going this direction, either. Bozeman is only a one-year stopgap option, so to pass on a franchise center for him would be ludicrous. Plus, Bozeman originally played guard with the Baltimore Ravens, so the Chargers would have the ability to move pieces around.

And heck, who knows, if Bozeman kicks over to right guard then that could open the door for right tackle competition between Trey Pipkins and Jamaree Salyer. Salyer was decent as a guard last season but he was not as good as he was when he played left tackle in his rookie year. Taking Powers-Johnson could give the Chargers the best of both worlds, improving across the board.

It still seems more likely than not that Powers-Johnson will be taken in the first 36 picks. But if not, the Chargers absolutely have to take advantage.