Chargers NFL Draft grades: Junior Colson reunion is one worth cheering

Rose Bowl Game - Alabama v Michigan
Rose Bowl Game - Alabama v Michigan / Ryan Kang/GettyImages

The LA Chargers did the inevitable and reunited Jim Harbaugh with a Michigan Wolverine in the 2024 NFL Draft. It was never a question of if Harbaugh would take one of his former players, but when the Chargers would make this move and who it would be.

The answer to that question was ultimately in the third round with linebacker Junior Colson. Colson fell further than expected and was many analysts' LB1 in this draft class. Taking him was not just a reunion, but an example of exceptional value for the Bolts.

The biggest win of this selection is that the Chargers did not reach for another Michigan player, Blake Corum, in the third round. Los Angeles was able to check this Michigan box and do so with a player who makes a lot of sense for the team. Let's dive into the grade.

Chargers NFL Draft grade for Junior Colson selection: A

Look, it is really hard not to like the Junior Colson selection for the Bolts. At the end of the day he is a third-round linebacker so fans should still tamper expectations some and not expect Colson to be a bona fide All-Pro linebacker, but he is a very talented player who is going to start right away.

The Chargers needed a linebacker who could play in pass coverage and that is exactly where Colson's strengths lie. His familiarity with Jesse Minter's system is going to give him an edge up on ay other rookie linebacker that could have been drafted and his physicality is absolutely going to play in the NFL.

Considering where the Chargers were in the 2024 NFL Draft, getting a starting-quality player who can make a day-one impact is a huge win. Linebacker may not have been the biggest need in the world, but it was undoubtedly a need and the Chargers filled that with arguably the best player available on the board.

Sure, it would have been nice to see a great cornerback fall to the Chargers with the 69th pick as that was a bigger need but it did not happen. There was a run of cornerbacks in the second round and by the time the Chargers were on the board, there wasn't anyone worth taking over Colson.

In the past, Tom Telesco would have either forced a pick solely out of need or would have taken some random prospect with one trait that he likes who would have taken three years to maybe develop into an impact player.

With this selection, the Chargers receive someone whom the coaching staff is familiar with who will be an instant contributor in 2024.

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