Chargers mock draft roundup: Who the experts have the Bolts taking at 21
The end of the Super Bowl and the 2022 NFL season means it is the beginning of draft season for football fans. This year is particularly important for the LA Chargers, who need to add talent to the roster this offseason with limited financial resources.
Needing to free up over $20 million in cap space, according to Over The Cap, the Chargers are going to have to land some difference-makers early in the 2023 NFL Draft. The team cannot have another situation like the 2022 NFL Draft where two of the top three picks couldn't even see the field.
We have already dove into the team's draft situation with our first mock draft of the offseason but there is plenty more draft coverage to dive into. Let's explore who the experts have the Chargers taking, so we can really get an idea of what the team might do in 2023.
Chargers mock draft roundup: Experts can't agree on 21st overall pick
Daniel Popper, The Athletic: Jalin Hyatt, WR, Tennessee
Chargers beat reporter Daniel Popper released his first Chargers mock draft of the offseason (subscription required) and had the Chargers taking Tennessee speedster Jalin Hyatt with the 21st overall pick. Hyatt is a fan-favorite option for the Bolts and there may not be another beat reporter as plugged in with the Chargers as Popper.
Todd McShay, ESPN: Cam Smith, CB, South Carolina
Todd McShay is one of the most well-known names in the mock draft world and his first 2023 mock draft recently turned some heads (subscription required).
As much of a legend as McShay is, he likely missed the mark with this one. Cornerback is on the short list of positions that the Chargers definitely won't target in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft. Staley loves taking CBs later in the draft but a first-round CB is not a need at all.
Charlie Campbell, Walter Football: Mazi Smith, DT, Michigan
Charlie Campbell was the second-most accurate mock drafter in the 2022 NFL Draft, so his mock drafts do deserve some extra attention. That being said, Chargers fans likely won't love this selection made by Campbell.
While the team undoubtedly needs defensive line help, taking a defensive tackle in the first round is not great value and does not seem likely with there being other needs.
Ryan Wilson, CBS Sports: Broderick Jones, OT, Georgia
We know that Brandon Staley loves his Georgia Bulldogs and a recent addition to his staff may indicate that the Bolts could draft yet another player from Kirby Smart's program.
That being said, Broderick Jones only makes sense as a first-round selection for the Bolts if the team cannot agree to a new deal with Trey Pipkins. If Pipkins leaves in free agency it is a possibility. If he stays, a first-round tackle is completely out of the picture.
MUST-READ: Ranking Justin Herbert and the top 32 QBs in the NFL
Of these four selections, Hyatt is probably the most likely at this point in time. However, as we learn every year with the NFL Draft, we need to expect the unexpected.