Bolts bolster defense in first Chargers mock draft of 2022 offseason

LA Chargers mock draft
LA Chargers mock draft / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
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Ahmad Gardner
SMU v Cincinnati / Dylan Buell/GettyImages

With the 17th overall pick in this LA Chargers mock draft, the Chargers select Ahmad Gardner, CB, Cincinnati

Ahmad "Sauce" Gardner is a name that a lot of LA Charger fans know as we head into the draft process. Gardner was a standout cornerback on the Cincinnati Bearcats and was a big reason why Cincy's defense was able to propel the team into the National Championship Playoffs. They were beaten easily by Alabama, but that does not hurt Gardner's stock.

If the Chargers would have made the playoffs then they may have missed the chance to draft Gardner. This is right in Gardner's range as he will likely be taken in the high teens. That is the silver lining of losing to the Raiders.

The Chargers have talent in the secondary but they need to continue adding talent in order to reach Brandon Staley's vision of the defense. While Michael Davis and Asante Samuel Jr. are both good, neither are good enough to be a true CB1 (Samuel could be over time). They are both fine CB2s, but the Chargers need a true top corner that can lock guys down.

Will Gardner come in and be as good as Patrick Surtain was this season? Probably not. But he has all the traits of becoming a true CB1 and the Chargers would be a great team for him to land as he would have less pressure with two other guys that can help out in Davis and Samuel.

He has the size, the athleticism and the intangibles to be great in the league. Unless the Chargers sign a true no. 1 CB like J.C. Jackson in free agency, Gardner should probably be the pick in the first round if he is still on the board.

The Chargers are now on the clock with their second-round pick in our first LA Chargers mock draft.