Chargers could draft DT Kris Jenkins in the second round
Projected by ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. to be among the Top-50 players selected, defensive tackle Kris Jenkins makes sense for the Chargers' vulnerable run defense, in addition to DT Sebastian Joseph-Day being released days ago.
Though the Chargers' running defense finally improved – ranking 17th in total rushing yards – Joseph-Day's departure will affect the defensive production in 2024, as Pro Football Focus ranked him as their best defensive interior player this season.
DT Austin Johnson, who arrived with Joseph-Day in the very active 2022 free agency, is also now a free agent. Though Morgan Fox is still on the roster, he is not a reliable starting player.
That's why, if selected in the 2nd round, Jenkins will most likely be a starting defensive tackle. According to the NFL Draft Buzz's scouting report, Jenkins' strength allows him to elude offensive tackles, as he reads their movements – and that of the running backs – very well.
Jenkins also possesses an enviable technique to evade blocks. Head Coach Jim Harbaugh and the Chargers would be scouting for such physical players, as the defense looked very soft in terms of missed tackles in 2023. As a matter of fact, Jenkins earned the All Big Ten in 2023, finishing the season with 37 tackles and 4.5 tackles for loss.
Both NFL Draft Buzz and Pro Football Network agree that he has to be faster and improve his pass-rushing abilities to become an elite NFL defender, which would contribute a lot to the Chargers after the eventual departure of Khalil Mack or Joey Bosa.
Sainristil, Corum and Jenkins have shown their value in college, and they would fulfill specific roles within the Chargers roster. However, other Michigan Wolverines who could very well appear on this list include Edge Braiden McGregor, OL Zak Zinter and WR Roman Wilson.