Chargers have intriguing possibilities with No. 17 pick in NFL draft – NFL Nation


Snoop Dogg will perform.

Coach Brandon Staley, quarterback Justin Herbert, receiver Keenan Allen, safety Derwin James Jr. and two newcomers — cornerback J.C. Jackson and tight end Gerald Everett — will be in attendance.

But the identity of the main attraction at the Los Angeles Chargers‘ NFL draft party at SoFi Stadium on Thursday has yet to be determined, as general manager Tom Telesco and the Bolts are scheduled to make the 17th overall pick when the first round of the draft (8 p.m. ET; ABC, ESPN, ESPN app) gets underway.

“I feel good about where we are,” Telesco told reporters Monday about the Chargers’ draft position. “With the amount of players that we have in that area, we should be in pretty good shape.”

Following a 9-8 season and third-place finish in the AFC West in Staley’s first year as coach, the Bolts must continue to bolster a defense that ranked No. 26 in efficiency, solidify protection for Herbert on the right side of the offensive line, plus add a speedy weapon for the third-year quarterback to target.

Picking at No. 17, the Chargers could be in position to select among a talented group of offensive tackles — with players such as Mississippi State’s Charles Cross, Northern Iowa’s Trevor Penning or Tulsa’s Tyler Smith potentially available at that spot — to fill a vacancy at right tackle and provide the final piece to a line that already is anchored on the left side by Pro Bowler Rashawn Slater, their first-round pick in 2021.

“We’ll just kind of see how it plays out,” Telesco said, when asked if there was a need to select an offensive lineman. “You never know how it’s going to go. A little bit like free agency, you can only bring in what’s going to be available — same thing with the draft, you can only draft what’s available. We certainly aren’t going to force anything.”

If the Chargers don’t select a lineman, there are plenty of playmakers who could immediately fill a roster need.

USC receiver Drake London is unlikely to be available midway through the first round, but Ohio State wideout Chris Olave could be a needed speedy option to stretch the field for Herbert.

And if the Bolts look to fill a defensive need with their first selection, they could do so with Washington cornerback Trent McDuffie or Georgia defensive tackle Jordan Davis.

The Chargers own 10 picks total, including a third, fourth, fifth, two sixth and four seventh-round selections.

Their current haul of selections is the most they’ve owned since having 11 in 2004 and could afford them the opportunity to round out a roster that’s already undergone the significant upgrades necessary to compete in an ever-improving division that now includes Super Bowl champion quarterback Russell Wilson joining the Denver Broncos and All-Pro receiver Davante Adams moving to the Las Vegas Raiders.

The Bolts traded their second-round pick, along with a 2023 sixth-round selection, to the Chicago Bears in exchange for All-Pro outside linebacker Khalil Mack. They signed Jackson, a free-agent Pro Bowl cornerback with the New England Patriots, to a five-year, $82.5 million contract, then added former New York Giants defensive tackle Austin Johnson on a two-year, $14 million deal and defensive tackle Sebastian Joseph-Day on a three-year, $24 million deal to leave the Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams.

On offense, Everett — a five-year veteran who played last season with the Seattle Seahawks — signed a two-year, $12-million contract.

“We’re just trying to use every avenue we can use right now to get there, whether through trades, free agency, the draft, or post-draft,” Telesco said about building a complete roster. “How close are we? I don’t know.”



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