How the Chargers free agent signings affect their 2022 NFL Draft strategy

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Hassan Haskins
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Rounds 4-7

Positions to watch: IDL, RB, TE, S

The deeper we get into the draft, the muddier the water gets. It’s very tough to predict much in the later rounds. What we can do is look at trends though - it is fairly common to find starters along the interior of the defensive line later in the draft, and Tom Telesco seems to like drafting late-round running backs.

Some names to watch at defensive tackle would include Neil Farrell Jr of LSU, and Phidarian Mathis of Alabama. The defensive line still needs some additions to sure things up, and we would all welcome as many capable run defenders as possible with wide-open arms.

A second running back to take some pressure off of Austin Ekeler is sorely needed. A big back that can power through short-yardage situations and wear on defenses to close out games would be a great asset. Brian Robinson Jr definitely fits that billing, as well as Tyler Allgeier and Hassan Haskins. I’d also mention ZaQuandre White, one of the most shifty and athletic backs in the class. He can also provide value in the passing game and has the yards after catch ability you’d hope for.

There should be quite a few options for the Chargers towards the back end of the draft, and we’ve seen them take that late-round approach for the position in back-to-back drafts now with the Joshua Kelley and Larry Rountree picks. Unfortunately, they haven’t found much success, hopefully, third time is the charm if the trend continues.

Tight end and safety are not positions that need critical attention, and so these are not spots we would expect to see addressed before day three of the draft. Most fans are probably settling into the idea of Donald Parham taking on a larger role at this point, and happy to see Nasir Adderley starting to come into his own. There could be some players worth taking a shot on as developmental pieces though, tight ends Greg Dulcich and Isaiah Likely would be great value if they slip into day three.

In terms of safeties, Kirby Joseph and Nick Cross look as though they could fit in nicely from a scheme perspective. Both are good athletes with range and the ball skills to match that can provide some depth and develop behind Derwin James and Nasir Adderley. Defensive back depth never hurts, it was something that clearly showed up as an issue in 2021.

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It would also be safe to assume the Chargers will be looking to add some valuable presence to their special teams unit as well.