NFL Mock Draft Roundup: Who are analysts pegging to Chargers?

With the offseason in full swing for the Chargers, it’s time to start thinking about the 2023 NFL Draft.

To help kickstart your draft crush research, we’ve compiled the latest mock drafts from around the internet to familiarize you with some potential Chargers.

Notre Dame TE Michael Mayer

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Dane Brugler, The Athletic

The Chargers need to make changes this offseason, and it will be interesting to see what buttons they push. Something the organization should be trying to do every year is upgrade on offense around their talented quarterback, Justin Herbert. Michael Mayer is a physical blocker and will be one of the best contested-catch tight ends in the NFL the moment he is drafted.

Keith Sanchez, The Draft Network

The Chargers add another playmaker. They have their guys who work the outside, but they need a player that can dominate the middle of the field. Michael Mayer won’t have crazy testing numbers, but he will prove to be a player that simply knows how to get open and be a complementary piece to Mike Williams and Keenan Allen.

Mayer is a pretty natural Chargers fit and one I expect to see as a mock draft connection frequently this cycle. The tight end is one of the better prospects at the position in the last few seasons and is equally proficient as a blocker or receiver. There’s not a clear direction of the tight end room for LA beyond 2023: Gerald Everett is a free agent in 2024, Donald Parham Jr. is a restricted free agent this offseason, and Tre’ McKitty has yet to live up to his third-round draft slot. Adding Mayer locks down the position for the foreseeable future, adding a stable presence over the middle that LA lacks.

USC WR Jordan Addison

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Ian Cummings, Pro Football Network

Jordan Addison isn’t quite the slam-dunk prospect that you’d think with his production profile. He’s very light and is largely lacking physicality. But separation and instincts go a long way for wideouts, and Addison has both traits.

He’s an elite short-area athlete with explosiveness, hip sink, and agility. Addison can also elevate and contort at the catch point better than most.

Doug Farrar, Touchdown Wire

No analysis given

The Chargers will certainly have gotten a fair amount of exposure to Addison, who played his final college season just down the road at USC. While not the speedster Charger fans may crave, Addison is a natural separator on shorter routes, a skill that LA’s current corps is devoid of. The only problem here? Addison is primarily a slot receiver due to his lighter frame, as is Keenan Allen. But if the Chargers decide to move on from Allen to save up to $17.5 million against the salary cap, there are plenty worse options than Addison to replace him.

Tennessee WR Jalin Hyatt

Luke Easterling, Draft Wire

Justin Herbert already has a pair of big, physical receivers who can win in contested-catch situations all day long (Keenan Allen, Mike Williams), but he could use one who can separate consistently. Hyatt’s breakout season was fueled by his explosive, big-play ability, which is exactly what this offense needs.

Expect to see this one a lot more in the next few months. The 2022 Biletnikoff winner as college football’s top receiver, Hyatt burst onto the scene with Tennessee this season as a legit burner who can take the top off any defense. There are some questions about his game, namely his ability to handle press coverage in the NFL. Ultimately, I think those questions make Hyatt more of a second-round player. But speed kills, and LA lacks it, so reaching for the best downfield threat in the draft isn’t out of the question.

Texas RB Bijan Robinson

33rd Team Scouting Department

The Chargers ran the ball seven times for seven yards in the second half of their playoff meltdown last weekend. Robinson is one of the highest-graded players in this class, and he is a do-it-all back. A backfield pairing of Justin Herbert and Bijan Robinson could be lethal for years to come.

Right about now is where this roundup begins to get…let’s call it interesting. Robinson has been touted as the best running back prospect since Saquon Barkley. Still, the continued devaluation of the position over the last few years has many pundits projecting the Longhorn as a late first-rounder. Austin Ekeler is entering both his age 28 season and a contract year – 28 is about the age at which running backs begin to decline, and if that’s the case with Ekeler, it could be time to find a new lead back. But Robinson would be a luxury for a team with bigger needs to fill, especially one that seems optimistic about the abilities of Joshua Kelley and Isaiah Spiller based on comments made by general manager Tom Telesco on Thursday.

Utah TE Dalton Kincaid

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Daniel Jeremiah, NFL Network

Kincaid is a little older and coming off an injury, but his tape is outstanding. His short-area quickness is phenomenal, and he is incredibly tough and productive with the ball in his hands.

The case for Kincaid is roughly the same as the one for Mayer: tight end is a position in flux, Kincaid is an all-around player who can block or catch and would provide a security blanket over the middle. What makes this pick interesting is that Jeremiah has Kincaid as the first tight end off the board over more established household names like Mayer or Georgia’s Darnell Washington. This is a strong tight end class, and the debate at the top is proof of that, but I tend to think Kincaid will be available in the second round if that’s the route the Chargers want to go down.

Georgia OT Broderick Jones

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Josh Edwards, CBS Sports

Los Angeles needs to add some speed to the offense but Justin Herbert isn’t going to have time to find that speed downfield if protection on the right side does not improve. The Chargers’ offensive line should be much better with a healthy Rashawn Slater at left tackle and Jones at right tackle.

I rank this as the most likely of the four picks to close this roundup because Edwards at least specifies that he’s mocking Jones to LA to play right tackle. In this scenario, the Chargers decide that Trey Pipkins is either: not worth bringing back, too expensive to re-sign given LA’s cap situation, or not good enough to start going into 2023. The last one of those seems exceedingly unlikely, so let’s assume Edwards is projecting Pipkins to play elsewhere next year. In that case, Jones is a fine pick! He’s a powerful tackle who primarily played on the left side for Georgia, but the success of Jamaree Salyer might convince the Chargers. I still think they re-sign Pipkins.

Florida G O'Cyrus Torrence

AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack

Chris Trapasso, CBS Sports

The Chargers continue the construction of their blocking unit in front of Justin Herbert with the powerful Torrence.

Let’s just be frank: there are not many scenarios in which guard suddenly becomes a need large enough that the Chargers spend a second consecutive first round pick on one. The primary one involves LA deciding that Jamaree Salyer is a tackle after all considering his play at left tackle this season, but still releasing starting left guard Matt Feiler for the $6.5 million of cap relief. Zion Johnson had an up and down rookie season on the right side, but you don’t replace the 17th overall pick after one season, especially one that provided plenty of glimpses of stardom.

Northwestern OT Peter Skoronski

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Joe Broback, Pro Football Network

As the Chargers recover from one of the biggest collapses we’ve seen in playoff history, the draft offers some consolation. Protecting Justin Herbert will always be a good idea, and Los Angeles gets versatility with their pick.

Peter Skoronski doesn’t possess elite traits physically, but his consistent play stands out. While he most likely slides inside to guard at some point during his career, he’ll get a chance at tackle. Again, it has nothing to do with his play. Skoronski stonewalled many talented pass rushers, so teams shouldn’t discount his time at tackle.

Rashawn Slater worked out, right? Again, I’m assuming that Skoronski’s “chance at tackle” would come on the right side with Slater returning, but it would create a nice piece of Northwestern chemistry to bring Skoronski to Los Angeles to team with the man he replaced in 2020. This, again, feels like a more likely pick if LA is drafting Skoronski to play left guard, which brings us back to the scenario where Salyer doesn’t have a starting spot but Feiler is off the team.

Oklahoma OT Anton Harrison

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Ryan Wilson, CBS Sports

There was some thought that Harrison might return to Oklahoma for an NIL deal that was too good to pass up but he’s instead opted for the NFL. He’s one of the top tackles in the class and now the question is whether he finds his way into Round 1 or goes early on Day 2.

January is an interesting time for mock drafts, because most of the picks are meant to get audiences familiar with names that might be called on the ever-important first night of the draft in April. It’s not until March and early April that mocks are truly about being correct. That’s what I think is happening here.

Harrison is a good player, but he’s also a left tackle, which the Chargers don’t need with Slater returning. You could move him to the right side, but that’s asking a player to completely mirror every aspect of their game and then start right away with teams throwing their best at him because they want to avoid the All-Pro on the other side. All of this is predicated on LA not retaining Pipkins, which seems unlikely to begin with.

Story originally appeared on Chargers Wire