2022 NFL mock draft: Chargers’ three-round projections after Wild Card weekend

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The NFL Playoffs kicked off with Wild Card weekend.

Amid the three days of games, the Chargers remained hard at work with their evaluations on prospects that they believe will help get them into the postseason next year.

As the offseason preparations continue, here’s an updated look at how the first three rounds of the 2022 NFL draft could shake out for Los Angeles.

Round 1, CB Andrew Booth, Clemson

Fans are hoping for one player to be here when the Chargers select at No. 17, and that’s Georgia DT Jordan Davis. While likely to be a popular pairing until April, I go a different direction to address another need.

With Chris Harris Jr.’s time in the blue and gold likely coming to an end, Los Angeles will need to find a starter to play alongside Michael Davis and Asante Samuel Jr.

Starting for the Tigers the past two seasons, Booth finished with 68 tackles, nine passes defended, one sack and five interceptions. In 2021, he allowed just 29 receptions for 312 yards on 46 targets.

At 6-foot and 195 pounds, Booth is a long and speedy corner with excellent reactive athleticism, coverage ability, both in man and zone and the physicality to come down and make plays in the screen and run game.

Round 2, DT Phidarian Mathis, Alabama

A defensive tackle, alas!

I believe the Chargers will sign two free agents, not including their own, and look at the draft to pick up two or three more, and it starts here with one of my favorite players I’ve studied up to this point.

Arguably one of the most impactful all-around interior defenders, Mathis amassed 53 total tackles nine sacks, one forced fumble, two fumble recoveries and two blocked passes.

Possessing a quick first step to get off the line of scrimmage, Mathis has sweet feet to force offensive linemen to lunge, leverage, and a powerful upper body and violent hands to defeat blocks.

Against the run, Mathis exhibits the ability to anchor and split double teams, rarely gets pushed off his spot, and has good range and lateral mobility from inside the tackle box.

Round 3, OT Max Mitchell, Louisiana

Everyone across the nation noticed Storm Norton in the Chargers’ final game of the season against the Raiders as Maxx Crosby terrorized him. That is why they need to address the position, and part of the plans shouldn’t be holding hope that Bryan Bulaga will stay healthy for a full 17-game slate.

Mitchell led all FBS tackles with a 94.8 PFF grade, as the 6-foot-6, 303-pound tackle allowed only 13 pressures and three sacks this season while racking up the third-most big-time run blocks. In addition, he never committed a penalty or missed an offensive snap.

Mitchell is a proficient and athletic right tackle, with the positioning and footwork to mirror and match, great hand techniques and length to keep rushers at bay, and run-blocking consistency but will need to continue to develop his play strength.