Michigan prospect is essentially begging the Chargers to draft him

Michigan v Ohio State
Michigan v Ohio State / Aaron J. Thornton/GettyImages

The LA Chargers head into the 2024 NFL Draft with a specific set of needs and some big-name prospects that the team may be interested in. With a new regime at the helm, it is going to be interesting to see how the Chargers attack the 2024 NFL Draft.

One thing is for certain: Jim Harbaugh knows a lot about the incoming Michigan Wolverines and won't shy away from drafting any that make sense for this roster. A lot of Harbaugh's coaching hires were built off previous relationships and the new Chargers head coach could approach the 2024 NFL Draft in the same way.

There are several prominent Michigan prospects who have been tied to the Chargers. From Blake Corum to Mike Sainistril, there are several players who would make a lot of sense on this Chargers roster.

One player that could make sense considering the Chargers' draft needs is tight end AJ Barner. Tight end is one of the biggest needs that the Chargers have this offseason, particularly when it comes to blocking tight ends. Knowing this, Barner may have left a not-so-subtle message to his former head coach at the NFL Combine about his blocking ability.

AJ Barner is making a strong case for the Chargers to draft him

All of the focus right now at the tight end position is on Brock Bowers, who definitely is in play for the Chargers in the first round. If the Chargers do not take Bowers, though, then it is hard to forecast when the team will take a tight end as the class drops off pretty substantially.

If Bowers is not the pick then we may not see the Chargers draft a tight end until the third day of the draft, which is when Barner would come into play. Pro Football Focus ranks Barner as the 174th prospect in the draft, which would theoretically put him in play for the Chargers in the fifth or sixth round.

Barner is not wrong in the fact that he is one of the better blocking tight ends in this year's draft class. With a six-foot-six, 250-pound frame he definitely has the size to transition well into the NFL. As far as pass-catching goes, the Chargers would not be able to rely on Barner being a consistent contributor, at least in his first season.

That being said, if the Chargers pass on Bowers in the first round in favor of an elite wide receiver, and they add a cheap veteran tight end, then the team may not even need Barner to be a big pass-catching weapon. At that point, Justin Herbert would have plenty of weapons and the team could benefit from Barner's blocking ability.

Regardless, because of his Michigan ties with Harbaugh it is impossible to ignore Barner and his comments leading into the draft. He knows exactly what the Chargers need and is already selling himself.