Insdorf’s Guys: 2024 NFL draft ‘crushes’ the Chargers might love

It’s full throttle towards the combine and draft season now that both the college and NFL seasons are in the can. At Joe Hortiz’s press conference last week, he laid out a vision that was highly dependent on using valuable draft picks to build a strong foundation. It makes sense as that’s how a lot of his previous organization’s teams in Baltimore were built.

LA’s cap situation is obviously tight as well. They’re not going to be players in the free agent market outside of a few smaller signings in the margins.

To initiate the retool/rebuild in LA under a new regime, here are five draft crushes that I think could give the Chargers a significant boost.

CB Max Melton, Rutgers

Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

The Chargers still have Asante Samuel Jr. under contract. Outside of that, the cornerback room will be in need of a decently heavy retooling this offseason. Michael Davis is likely gone as a free agent, and the J.C. Jackson experiment didn’t work out, to say the least.

Melton has shot up draft boards after the Senior Bowl and for good reason. Rutgers’ dominant outside corner is incredibly instinctive and athletic. He’s had his fair share of 1 on 1 reps against the nation’s best (like Marvin Harrison Jr., for example) and wins consistently.

PFF grades Melton as one of the higher percentile zone coverage corners in this class, a skill set that will absolutely be vital for running Jesse Minter’s defense. The efficiency Melton plays with, as well as a certain level of ball skills, reminds me a lot of Casey Hayward’s Chargers tenure. Similar playing frames as well.

As many pundits pointed out at the Senior Bowl, he could potentially play slot corner in the league with flexibility in his skillset. But I’d want Melton to be the Chargers CB1 of the future on the outside.

CB Mike Sainristil, Michigan

RB Bucky Irving, Oregon

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Personally, I have Irving graded as my top running back in the entire 2024 draft class. He’s elusive and fast. Frankly, sometimes you’ll watch him on film and think he’s a blur. He’s a dynamic, smart runner who is also patient. His combination of skills and versatility is not something you often see.

The numbers are off the charts. Nearly 1200 yards last season on the ground and about another 400 as a receiver. 13 scrimmage touchdowns.

But to me, maybe the most impressive stat is his 3.99 yards after contact per attempt in 2024. Maybe his build doesn’t completely fit the mold of what Jim Harbaugh and Greg Roman look for in their running backs. But he’s as much, if not more, of a pain to try to tackle and successfully bring down relative to some of the bigger backs in the class.

Don’t overthink it. He would fix the running back room the moment Roger Goodell read his name off the card.

WR Jamari Thrash, Louisville

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

With slightly suspect hands and a smaller frame, Thrash is going to go later than people think. But if the value is there on day three, I think the Chargers should jump at the opportunity to take him if they don’t go with a WR at #5.

Thrash is an incredible route runner with a penchant for beating man coverage consistently. In yards per route run vs. man, he was third in the nation last season behind only Marvin Harrison Jr. and Rome Odunze. The Chargers absolutely need more receivers who are capable of creating consistent separation. The advanced metrics like him as a route runner too. Thrash was fourth in EPA per route run behind the aforementioned Harrison, Troy Franklin and Malik Nabers.

The drop rate is a little concerning as previously mentioned with the hands, but it seems like a technical problem he can overcome as opposed to something that will set him back. Unlike, say, the Quentin Johnston situation, Thrash being an elite route runner able to get away from contact consistently alleviates some of the concerns in dealing with NFL physicality.

TE Cade Stover, Ohio State

Story originally appeared on Chargers Wire