Ranking Chargers' 2024 rookie draft class before training camp

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The 2024 draft class was the first under new head coach Jim Harbaugh and general manager Joe Hortiz. While the exact quality of the draft class will be unknown for several years, the early impressions around this class are mostly positive.

Chargers fans will learn a lot about these rookies during training camp and the preseason when they are given the stage to shine. Prior to that starting, Chargers fans got a small taste of what is to come during OTAs and minicamp earlier in June.

With those workouts now behind the team, here is how the pecking order of the 2024 draft class is shaking up prior to training camp.

Ranking Chargers rookie draft class:

1. RT Joe Alt

The fifth overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft still ranks as the top rookie from the Chargers' class. Alt cemented himself as the starting right tackle during OTAs and minicamp and had passed all the early tests for the team.

The biggest tests will come in training camp when Alt lines up against this deep edge-rushing room in front of fans in attendance. With his skill set, he will likely pass with flying colors.

2. WR Ladd McConkey

The second-ranked rookie for the Chargers is the second player the team took in the draft. Ladd McConkey has a good chance of being the most productive rookie for the Chargers in 2024 as he will be doing his best Keenan Allen impression in this offense.

McConkey may not have the skillset to be a franchise WR1 who completely tilts the entire axis of the field but he has an extremely high floor and a skill set which lends itself to being very productive right away. Expect McConkey to put up great stats as a rookie.

3. CB Tarheeb Still

Fifth-round pick Tarheeb Still stood out during OTAs and minicamp in June, setting the table nicely for him to turn heads during training camp. Still received promising reviews from teammate Derwin James and defensive coordinator Jesse Minter, which is always a great sign.

Given that Still is a slot cornerback and there is not a concrete starter, there certainly is a chance that he play his way into being a surprising defensive starter despite being the fifth player taken by the Bolts in the draft.

4. LB Junior Colson

Junior Colson has all the skills to be a very successful linebacker in this league and getting to play for his college head coach and defensive coordiantor is certainly a plus. When we look back at this selection in five years it will almost certainly be with rose-colored glasses.

That being said, right now, Colson projects to be the third linebacker on the depth chart behind Denzel Perryman and Daiyan Henley. An early injury slowed him down during OTAs and he could earn a starting spot. But right now, he is a rotational player.

5. RB Kimani Vidal

Kimani Vidal was one of the most exciting late-round running backs the Chargers could have drafted in 2024. Vidal has similar traits to Austin Ekeler and if it works out, he could provide the Chargers a similar two-way impact in the future (although expecting him to be just like Ekeler is unfair).

Vidal didn't do much to turn heads during OTAs or minicamp so there is still plenty of room for him to grow in the eyes of the coaching staff. A strong training camp and preseason may catapult him up this list.

6. CB Cam Hart

Cam Hart was selected in the fifth round after Tarheeb Still yet he was considered by many to be the better cornerback prospect. Los Angeles prioritized Still with the team's first pick in the fourth round and could not pass up the chance to draft Hart when he was still on the board.

All this being said, Hart has not made the same impressions early on that Still has made. That is not to say that he won't be a solid pro, but his path to starting and making an impact on this defense is certainly murkier than Still's.

7. DL Justin Eboigbe

Fourth-round pick Justin Eboigbe will obviously make the roster in his rookie season. There is no way the Chargers are going to give up on a fourth-round pick this early in the process.

That being said, there is not a lot of excitement around Eboigbe at this point of his rookie campaign. Eboigbe joins an extremely crowded defensive line room and did not do much to really turn heads during OTAs and minicamp. Training camp can change his outlook, but right now, he appears to be someone who won't play much at all.

8. WR Cornelius Johnson

Cornelius Johnson was the last prospect the Chargers drafted in 2024 but he checks in one spot ahead of the bottom spot on these rankings. Johnson certainly has his hands full competing for a roster spot along with a fellow drafted rookie and as it stands right now, he may have the better chance.

While Johnson was not viewed as highly as his peers, there is important context that cannot be overlooked. Johnson is a product of the University of Michigan, which certainly puts him a leg up with Jim Harbaugh as the head coach. Additionally, he is a solid run blocker and can contribute on special teams, which works in his favor when it comes to making the roster.

9. WR Brenden Rice

Brenden Rice was taken in the seventh round ahead of Johnson and most Chargers fans view him in a more favorable light. After all, Rice was projected to be taken in the fourth round before the draft and that has fans excited about the value of the selection.

If every team in the league passes on someone and they end up going three rounds later than expected then the projections were probably wrong. If Rice was a fourth-round talent he would not have slipped three full rounds to the Chargers.

Rice can certainly beat out Johnson for a roster spot but he does not have the same upside in blocking or in special teams as Johnson. Additionally, the need for another athletically average X receiver is negated by the D.J. Chark signing.