Chargers NFL Draft grades: Bold grade for a bold Ladd McConkey trade-up

Georgia v Florida
Georgia v Florida / James Gilbert/GettyImages

After taking Joe Alt with the fifth pick in the 2024 NFL Draft it was assumed that the LA Chargers would target a wide receiver in the second round. That is exactly that the Bolts did, trading up four spots to draft the top remaining wide receiver in the draft, Georgia's Ladd McConkey.

With Keon Coleman being picked with the 33rd pick, there was a drop-off between McConkey and the rest of the receivers in the class. Adonai Mitchell is a big name who was projected to go in the first but he is as raw as it comes and the Chargers obviously wanted to draft someone who could produce more right away.

McConkley is a smooth route runner with athleticism that jumps off the film. He may not project to be a true WR1 in his rookie year but he is a nice complementary piece that should balance nicely with a Chargers offense that will inevitably run the ball more. After a puzzling round one grade, the Chargers did a better job in round two.

Chargers NFL Draft grade for Ladd McConkey selection: A+

This was as good as the Chargers could have done in the second round of the 2024 NFL Draft. The Chargers desperately needed to add another wide receiver and the team did so by adding the best remaining receiver on the board. It is impossible to complain about that.

Not only did the Chargers end up with the best receiver on the board but they executed a savvy trade-up to do so. All the Chargers had to do was move down 27 picks from the 110th pick to the 137th pick to move up. Considering that pick came from the Keenan Allen trade, that is quite the return for the Bolts.

McConkey's shiftiness and route-running will quickly make him a reliable target for Justin Herbert. The Chargers did not have anyone on the roster who can create separation in the same way that McConkey can, which will lead to him producing at a high clip early on.

Better yet, McConkey is a solid run blocker in the slot despite his size, which makes him an even better fit in Greg Roman's offense. His blocking off the edge can play a huge role in the run game, and can open up the playbook with the team's play-action passes.

Would the Chargers have been better off with Malik Nabers, Jackson Powers-Johnson and Trey Pipkins instead of having Alt and McConkey starting? Maybe. But the team obviously loved Alt, and they obviously loved McConkley. You cannot fault them for that.