Jim Harbaugh's fingerprints could be all over Chargers' second-round pick

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

The most important LA Chargers draft in recent memory is right around the corner. It's a sign of encouragement that Jim Harbaugh will have a heavy influence on the picks, but fans have grown concerned with the latest buzz regarding the team's first-round selection.

Wide receiver has seemed an obvious fit at No. 5 overall following the departures of Keenan Allen and Mike Williams. Now, though, NFL Network draft expert and color analyst for Chargers radio Daniel Jeremiah is adamant that LA will trade down and select an offensive linemen with its first pick.

The Chargers could follow that by selecting a WR with their additional first-round pick. It won't be Marvin Harrison Jr., Malik Nabers or Rome Odunze, but someone like LSU's Brian Thomas Jr. or Texas' Xavier Worthy could be potential targets.

That would give Harbaugh and Co. ample flexibility with their second-round selection. Regardless of how round one unfolds, Michigan linebacker Junior Colson feels like he's squarely in the Bolts' crosshairs given his ties to Harbaugh and other members of the coaching staff.

Jim Harbaugh could target Michigan LB Junior Colson with Chargers' second-round pick

The Athletic's Dane Brugler is one of the most respect draft analysts in the industry. His words shouldn't be taken lightly. Even though the Chargers have needs at other positions, Brugler added in a follow-up post that "all bets are off with Harbaugh and some of these Michigan players."

Harbaugh brought over Michigan DC Jesse Minter to take the same position with the Chargers. Colson shined under both coaches and was a catalyst in the Wolverines morphing into college football's premier defense. He played injured for most of 2023 and still made a profound impact.

Linebacker is a pressing need for Harbaugh and Minter's defense. The room lost both of its starters from last season. Eric Kendricks was released to free up cap space, while Kenneth Murray inked a handsome contract with the Titans in free agency.

While the Chargers signed vet Denzyl Perryman, the options behind him leave a lot to be desired. 2023 third-round pick Daiyan Henley will assume a bigger role after he played just 53 defensive snaps in year one. Fourth-year pro Nick Niemann will also play more after logging 245 snaps last year.

Colson would bring toughness and a high football IQ to the Bolts defense. He has excellent body control when combatting blocks and finishing tackles and he can also hold his own in coverage. He was one of seven LBs in the country last season who earned run-defense and coverage grades north of 80.0, per Pro Football Focus.

The top of the second round may be a bit rich for Colson, but this is considered a top-heavy linebacker class. If Harbaugh feels the Chargers won't get great value at the position in round three and beyond, don't be surprised if Harbaugh sees to it that he reunites with his former linebacker.