Chargers mock draft: Bolts snag Mike Williams replacement in round one

Los Angeles Chargers v Minnesota Vikings
Los Angeles Chargers v Minnesota Vikings / Stephen Maturen/GettyImages

While the LA Chargers' journey to making the NFL Playoffs in 2023 is still very alive and well, some fans have turned ahead to looking at the 2024 NFL Draft. The Chargers are certainly in striking range to make a playoff run but with how this team has played in seven games, many fans are not buying it.

Instead, fans are looking ahead to a potential future where there might be a new head coach and general manager calling the shots. If the Chargers miss the playoffs then that will definitely be the case.

As it stands right now, the Chargers are picking in the middle of the first round (14th overall, to be exact). While it is absurd to do a full seven-round mock draft this early in the process, fans could start to pinpoint who the Bolts might take in round one.

Using Pro Football Focus' NFL Draft simulator, we put ourselves to the test and the outcome might be surprising to some.

Chargers select FSU WR Keon Coleman in 2024 NFL Mock Draft

The Chargers took a wide receiver in Quentin Johnston in the first round last year and the team might have to double down and do it again in the first round this year. Wide receiver doesn't seem like the biggest need but with how the draft class is shaping out, it might be the most likely pick.

With the Chargers being in the middle of the first round it is hard to see the team filling another need. Brock Bowers will already be off the board to help at tight end and there are no running back or cornerback prospects that fell to this spot. Thus, the team takes the best player on the board, who would definitely help the team.

Keon Coleman had a breakout season for Michigan State in 2022 and has continued that success in 2023 with Florida State. His draft value has skyrocketed as a result to the point where it seems like a guarantee that he will be taken in the first round.

The six-foot-four wide receiver is a jump ball merchant. Johnston, despite his size, is not someone who can replace Mike Williams in that regard. Coleman certainly has the skill set to do so, as evident from his play for Florida State.

It is essentially guaranteed that Williams will be a cap casualty for the Chargers next offseason. There is even a world in which the Chargers make Keenan Allen a cap casualty as well, which would completely reset the wide receiver room.

Even if Allen is still around, it would behoove the Chargers to take another young receiver early in the draft, especially with how Johnston has played thus far. Joshua Palmer only has one more year left under contract and Allen might walk away from LA after the 2024 season as well.

Building out the long-term depth while also getting a big receiver to help replace Williams' contested catch ability is the best direction to go in this case. That is not to say that the Chargers can't do that in the second or third round, but with how the draft shook out in this simulation, Coleman was the way to go.