Chargers trade back, bring in All-Pro cornerback in latest 2024 NFL mock draft

Los Angeles Chargers Introduce Jim Harbaugh As Head Coach
Los Angeles Chargers Introduce Jim Harbaugh As Head Coach / Ronald Martinez/GettyImages

We are less than one week away from the start of the 2024 NFL Draft and there has been a lot of speculation around what the Chargers are going to do with the fifth pick. While GM Joe Hortiz has given some pretty obvious clues, anything can still happen in the draft itself.

A new, exciting door opened for the Chargers (or any team in the top five for that matter) via the Denver Broncos. There are growing rumors that Denver may be willing to trade a future first-round pick with Patrick Surtain to move up in the draft to take a quarterback.

It would be hard for the Chargers to turn down a trade package that would give the team Surtain and a future first just for moving down seven spots in the first round. Thus, we wanted to explore the possibility and see what a Chargers draft class could look like with this trade using Pro Football Focus' mock draft simulator.

2024 NFL mock draft with Chargers trading back for Patrick Surtain:

Round 1, pick 12: Brian Thomas Jr, WR, LSU

This is a bit of a reach for Brian Thomas Jr. as many rank him in the high teens if not the twenties when it comes to the draft big board. That being said, the Chargers still have a gaping hole at the wide receiver position and can reach a tad to draft someone with legitimate WR1 potential.

Thomas may not be as surefire of a home run as the top-three receivers in this draft but he absolutely should be considered a Pro Bowl threat as the fourth-best receiver. Thomas' blend of size and athleticism is truly elite and in the right offense with the right quarterback, Thomas can be one of the best receivers in the sport in no time.

Round 2, pick 37: Payton Wilson, LB, North Carolina State

Without Surtain on the roster this selection at 37 is almost certainly going to be a cornerback. But with the Chargers landing a CB1 via trade, the team can afford to address another defensive position of need and take the best linebacker in this class.

Payton Wilson may not be a bonafide first-round linebacker prospect but he is someone who is talented enough to start right away at the NFL level and be an above-average inside linebacker. Los Angeles really needs to add a linebacker who can play well in coverage and who lines up directly with the skillset Wilson possesses.

Round 3, pick 69: Brandon Dorlus, IDL, Oregon

The Chargers are covered on the edges as the team is three-deep with talented pass rushers off the edge. Los Angeles can certainly afford to bulk up on the interior and Brandon Dorlus was one of the biggest standouts of the NFL Combine.

Dorlus is not a traditional nose tackle but he can move around the defensive line and would slot in nicely as a 3-4 defensive end. On passing downs, Dorlus has the potential to slide over to nose tackle later in his career with his exciting pass-rush potential.

Round 4, pick 105: Ben Sinnott, TE, Kansas State

Ben Sinnott might be the most exciting pass-catching tight end the Chargers can draft in the middle rounds. Sinnott is arguably the second-best route-running tight end in the draft class this year and would be entering a situation in LA where he wouldn't be tasked with too much too soon. This would be a great pairing for both sides.

Round 4, pick 110: Hunter Nourzad, C, Penn State

Bradley Bozeman is only a one-year option for the Chargers at center so the team drafts his 2025 replacement in the fourth round. Nourzad was going later in PFF's mock draft machine for most of this process but people are starting to realize how special he is and that he might end up going sooner in the draft.

Nourzad may be the most exciting day-three center prospect the Chargers can land. Taking him so early in the fourth might be a slight reach but it is worth it considering the team has an extra fourth-round pick.

Round 5, pick 140: Cornelius Johnson, WR, Michigan

The Chargers double up at wide receiver and do so with someone who Jim Harbaugh is familiar with. Even if the Chargers sign a free-agent wide receiver, the room will only be five deep and it will benefit the Chargers to have a sixth receiver on the roster.

Johnson is a good candidate for that on day three of the draft. He is not an explosive wideout who is going to turn heads as a rookie, but he is a fundamentally strong player who can contribute on special teams and is a very good blocker on the exterior. That is important if the Chargers are going to be more run-heavy.

Round 6, pick 181: Kimani Vidal, RB, Troy

The Chargers may not be taking a running back as early as expected anymore now that the team has signed J.K. Dobbins. That being said, it is still valuable to bring in a rookie running back and here the Chargers land the running back who lapped the field in missed tackles forced last season.

Round 7, pick 225: Delmar Glaze, OT, Maryland

The Chargers bulk up the offensive line depth with someone who has played on both sides of the line in college. At this point in the draft, versatility is important and Glaze has proven that he can play on both sides of the line.

Round 7, pick 253: Josh Wallace, CB, Michigan

This is essentially a priority undrafted free agent as the Chargers use thier last pick to bring in someone who defensive coordinator Jesse Minter is familiar with. Wallace may not jump off the tape but he was a leader on Minter's defense at Michigan and that helps get him a job here in LA.