2021 NFL draft: Top 10 Chargers targets in first round

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
Gavino Borquez
·3 min read
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

The Chargers will be on the clock in about four hours from now.

Who might be the newest member of the team by the end?

Here’s a look at Los Angeles’ 10 targets in the first-round based on positions of need and top players likely to be available.

1. OT Penei Sewell, Oregon

This would require a trade-up, but it would be worth it. Arguably the top offensive lineman in this year’s draft, Sewell is a big-bodied athlete who is light on his feet coupled with impressive play strength in the running game to overwhelm his opponents and a high football IQ. Being only 20 years old, he will need to continue to develop parts of his game, but he projects as a starting left tackle with All-Pro upside.

2. OT Rashawn Slater, Northwestern

While many believe he should get kicked inside at the next level, Slater is technically sound and has the athleticism and smarts to overcome any measurement concerns, projecting as a top-notch blindside blocker with the ability to play any position along the offensive line.

3. CB Jaycee Horn, South Carolina

Horn is the type of matchup eraser who can be used inside or outside and against any receiver or tight end, similar to the way Jalen Ramsey was used. Due to his combination of size, athleticism, competitiveness, football IQ, smoothness, ball skills and versatility, Horn has All-Pro upside.

4. CB Patrick Surtain, Alabama

While Surtain isn’t going to run as fast as some of the other corners in this year’s class, he can pattern match from press coverage and find the football downfield at a high and consistent level. He’s big and long enough to handle even the most physical of receivers, projecting as a starting corner with inside-out versatility.

5. OL Alijah Vera-Tucker, USC

Vera-Tucker put together a solid season as the Trojans’ left tackle this past season and he has plenty of experience at guard, where many project him to play in the NFL due to his lack of arm length. In my opinion, Vera-Tucker comes with the functional athleticism, movement skills and impressive strength to match and stymie pass rushers, and I believe he can be a fine blindside blocker in this league.

6. OT Christian Darrisaw, Virginia Tech

While he needs to develop his true strength & power and more attitude in his game, Darrisaw has the size at 6-foot-4 and 322 pounds, athletic ability, body control, run-blocking prowess and most importantly, the experience (35 starts at LT), projecting as a player with the tools and traits to become a Day 1 starter.

7. WR Jaylen Waddle, Alabama

Waddle 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.

8. EDGE Kwity Paye, Michigan

Paye is an explosive pass rusher who’s powerful with his hands and plays with good leverage, loose lower body movements and a motor that never cools down when getting after the quarterback and the anchorage ability to control at the point of attack against the run, projecting as a versatile chess piece up front.

9. EDGE Azeez Ojulari, Georgia

A natural athlete at 6-foot-2 and 249 pounds, Ojulari possesses the physical traits, balance, flexibility, short area quickness, explosiveness needed to disrupt the quarterback, solid ability against the run and experience in coverage. At only 20 years old, Ojulari is still developing into his frame. However, the upside is there to generate pressure and contribute against the run on a consistent basis.

10. LB/S Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, Notre Dame

Staley is a big advocate of position versatility and he could be enticed by the idea of getting another playmaker next to Derwin James to be able to impact all levels of the defense. Owusu-Koramoah is a player with high-end speed, coverage ability and sharpness as a blitzer who can be used as a linebacker, safety or nickel.