2021 NFL draft: Chad Reuter lists ‘ideal’ top two picks for Chargers

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Gavino Borquez
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We are a little over two weeks until all of the projections will be put to bed and we finally know what the future of the Chargers and the other 31 teams will look like.

After free agency, positional groups that still need to be solidified in the upcoming draft consist of left tackle, cornerback, safety, wide receiver, tight end and the defensive line.

Fortunately, with nine picks, they will have their choosing from some of the top prospects at those perspective positions.

NFL Media’s Chad Reuter recently completed a fun exercise where they identified the ideal top two picks for every team in the league.

For Los Angeles he slotted former Alabama Jaylen Waddle and North Dakota State offensive tackle Dillon Radunz.

The Chargers are often projected to select a left tackle with their top pick, but I think an elite receiver would be too hard to pass up at No. 13. Smith working in the slot with Keenan Allen and Mike Williams outside would be heaven for second-year starter Justin Herbert. Smith could then move outside in 2022 if Williams leaves as a free agent. Of course, they will need to address the offensive line early in the draft. Selecting Radunz to compete with Trey Pipkins at left tackle meets that need, and he showed at the Reese’s Senior Bowl that he could play inside, if circumstances require it.

This isn’t going to sit well for many fans because they know the need for a help at tackle and cornerback is too pressing, and passing up on both of them for wide receiver with the team’s first-round pick could hurt them in the long run.

General manager Tom Telesco’s case for taking a wideout at No. 13 could be that Mike Williams is set to play in the final year of his contract and Jalen Guyton did not prove himself as the third wide receiver after struggling with drops last season.

If Waddle was the pick, he would give quarterback Justin Herbert a dynamic weapon who can win with speed, quickness and route running ability to consistently separate and win with the ball in his hands, as well as a player who can return kicks and punts at a high level.

However, protecting Herbert’s blindside should be the No. 1 priority and the team does not have a bonafide starting left tackle on the roster. Reuter sees that Radunz is capable of filling that role.

While he needs to get better at finishing blocks, Radunz has the athleticism, range, foot quickness and run-blocking temperament needed for the NFL. He needs to develop more mass and add bulk to his frame, but his skillset suggests a high upside player.

For me, there’s two scenarios that would be the most ideal:

Round 1: Patrick Surtain or Jaycee Horn

Round 2: Dillon Radunz or Alex Leatherwood or Brady Christensen

or

Round 1: Christian Darrisaw or Rashawn Slater or Teven Jenkins

Round 2: Asante Samuel Jr. or Greg Newsome or Tyson Campbell or Ifeatu Melifonwu