It is a bit harder to predict who the LA Chargers may pursue in the 2023 NFL Draft compared to previous years. There is not one pressing first-round need for the Bolts with there instead being multiple directions that the team could go.
That makes them one of the most intriguing teams to consider in NFL mock drafts. Do the Chargers take best available? Do they go after one specific need? Do they even stay at 21, or do they move back for extra draft capital?
That is all questions that do not have an answer but that has not stopped draft experts from trying. The end of the 2023 NFL Combine has brought a wave of mock drafts. Here is who the experts have the Chargers taking.
Chargers mock draft roundup:
Todd McShay, ESPN (subscription required): Jordan Addison, WR, USC
Jordan Addison has become a popular player to mock to the LA Chargers. The Bolts could use some wide receiver help and Addison is a local prospect that appears to be one of the most well-rounded prospects on the board.
That being said, Addison does not bring that wrinkle of speed that Chargers fans are hoping to see in the 2023 NFL Draft. Addison ran a 4.49 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine, which is the exact same as Mike Williams.
Lance Zierlein, NFL.com: Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Ohio State
Lance Zierlein thinks that the Chargers will end up with Jaxon Smith-Njigba instead and that would be good news for many Chargers fans. Injuries are tanking Smith-Njigba's draft stock this year and if he would have been fully healthy in 2022 (and continued producing) then he might be a consensus top-10 pick. That is how high his ceiling can be.
Smith-Njigba would instantly start in the slot for the Chargers and would give the team the game-breaking speed that defenses have to respect over the top while also being an underneath threat to pick up YAC yards. Great hands, speed, and good size. Smith-Njigba has all of those traits.
Dane Brugler, The Athletic (subscription required): Michael Mayer, TE, Notre Dame
Michael Mayer is one of the several extremely exciting tight end prospects that are going to end up going in the mid-to-late first round in the 2023 NFL Draft. For many, Mayer is the best of this group for what he can do both as a blocking tight end and as a pass-catching tight end.
Mayer would instantly be a weapon that other teams have to respect on the Chargers offense and would give the team a long-term replacement for Gerald Everett, if he is even on the team next season.
Mike Renner and Sam Monson, PFF: Bryan Bresee, DL, Clemson
This is probably the least popular of the selections and for good reason. There are many different directions that the Chargers could go in the first round but taking an interior defensive lineman does not seem to be one of them.
Heck, the Chargers could end up addressing the defensive line in the first round but it would likely come via an edge rusher before it would come via an interior defensive lineman. That is not to say that the Chargers shouldn't get any help, but the first round is a bit too rich.