There are two weeks until the NFL Draft. Barring a trade up or down, the Los Angeles Chargers will select a key player and most likely instant contributor with the 21st overall selection.
In writing this mock draft, I used PFF's mock draft simulator. My theory in this experiment had more to do with making an educated guess on what the Chargers will do in the first round and then proceeding to build out a draft from there.
Of course, the nature of the draft is that not every position of need can be filled. Another piece is that of course none of us truly know what the Chargers' big board is.
This Chargers mock draft is built around a hometown first-round pick:
With the 21st pick of the 2023 NFL Draft, the Los Angeles Chargers select: USC WR Jordan Addison
The Chargers had a couple of choices with how the board in my simulation played out here. Off the table were players like Bijan Robinson, Jaxon Smith-Njigba, as well as some of the premium cornerbacks and EDGE players.
For what it's worth, Georgia's Nolan Smith was still on the board in this simulation. Dalton Kincaid and Michael Mayer are options for the taking at tight end. While he won't be on the board by 21 during the actual draft. Boston College's Zay Flowers was there too.
Some will be fans of all of the names mentioned above. However my belief is that the Chargers as of today would take USC's Jordan Addison, adding more interim offensive firepower while preparing to make big changes next year.
There are reasons the Chargers wouldn't take Addison. He's a little smaller than what the Chargers have historically liked in drafted receivers. He's not necessarily explosive in the same way that Flowers might be. But the Chargers have liked their more methodical route-running receivers in the past as we've seen in the Telesco era.
Addison, for some of his flaws, is the second-best route runner in this class after Ohio State's Smith-Njigba. He's a natural technician that can step up and play a big role on the offense this year, especially given the recent health issues of both Mike Williams and Keenan Allen. Also, based on how the Chargers have restructured their future cap situation: one of Allen or Williams won't be back in 2024.
Addison had a local Top 30 visit with the Chargers earlier this month. Current Chargers' wide receiver coach Chris Beatty recruited Addison to Pittsburgh originally. While Addison does not necessarily fit the current Chargers' size prototype for receiver under Telesco, he certainly fits it more than some of the smaller receivers from a height standpoint later in the draft.
Considering the need for offensive firepower, connections, and the eventual need to add a wide receiver, it wouldn't surprise me if the Chargers leapt at the Addison opportunity and took him here.