Malik Nabers puts immense pressure on Chargers, Joe Alt with electric OTAs

New York Giants OTA Offseason Workouts
New York Giants OTA Offseason Workouts / Luke Hales/GettyImages

The fifth overall pick appeared to be a pivotal one heading into the 2024 NFL Draft. In a quarterback-heavy class, speculation ran rampant about whether the LA Chargers would trade down, and if not, who the team would select.

General manager Joe Hortiz was clear heading into the draft that the team would select the best player available regardless of where the Bolts ended up. Los Angeles ultimately stayed put and surprised fans, taking Notre Dame offensive tackle Joe Alt.

The Chargers viewed Alt as the best player available over LSU wide receiver Malik Nabers, who was the most-desired selection for the fanbase. Wide receiver was certainly a bigger need heading into the draft, and the Chargers passed on Nabers in favor of Alt before eventually addressing the roster hole with Ladd McConkey in the second round.

Many fans have fully jumped on board with this decision while others are still fantasizing about a Nabers-Justin Herbert pairing. Nabers isn't doing the latter any favors as he is thriving at New York Giants OTAs without the benefit of an elite quarterback throwing him the ball.

Malik Nabers puts more pressure on Joe Alt, Chargers with stellar OTAs showing

Any wide receiver can look great on one slow-motion highlight, but it goes much deeper than that with the sixth-overall pick who has been turning heads during Giants OTAs and already appears to have an undeniable star presence.

Art Stapleton of USA Today quipped that he has not seen a receiver have a practice like this since Odell Beckham Jr. was on the Giants. Pat Leonard of New York Daily Sports called Nabers electric, stating he had hauled in not one, but two touchdown passes from Giants backup quarterback Drew Lock.

Nabers seems like the real deal — no one who watched him at LSU should be surprised — and that only puts more pressure on Alt and the Chargers. The 21-year-old appears to have all the talent in the world and enters the league with a lofty floor. But if he does not end up being a franchise tackle who makes multiple Pro Bowls, then the decision will feel like a whiff for the Bolts.

That is how special Nabers appears to be.

Elite receivers make a difference in this league, and as it currently stands, Herbert doesn't have any above-average weapons who can alter defensive schemes. The Chargers could have had their version of Ja'Marr Chase (also taken fifth overall from LSU), Tyreek Hill, or Justin Jefferson. Instead, Hortiz opted to add to the trenches.

As of right now, it is way too early to say the Chargers got this wrong and the Giants were the big winners of LA's decision. But given how things are trending at this early stage, the Bolts may have passed on the legitimate franchise wide receiver they still need.