The Chargers enter a new stadium off an underachieving season largely due to injuries and inconsistent quarterback play. Los Angeles won’t get any favors from the ultra competitive AFC West.
The Bolts needed to address those signal-caller concerns, upgrade the offensive line and find depth for the defense. They also needed linebacker, tight end and running back with Melvin Gordon.
How did they do in the 2020 NFL Draft?
Round 1, pick 6: QB Justin Herbert, Oregon
Los Angeles is too talented to draft this high again. That’s why they had to go out and grab their quarterback this year.
Herbert brings the size, athleticism and arm strength needed for a starting NFL quarterback. There are questions about his leadership and production at Oregon but the former Ducks player never ducked those questions during the process. He can develop into a true difference maker with the Chargers weapon as long as the team puts together a serviceable offensive line.
The Chargers could’ve went a number of ways with this pick. However, they get an A for getting one of the top quarterbacks in the draft.
Round 1, pick 23: LB Kenneth Murray, Oklahoma
The Chargers sent a second and third round pick to move up and select Murray. Murray is one of the top talents at linebacker and gives the Chargers a center piece on defense.
He offers a big body, sideline-to-sideline speed and high-level production from College. Murray can cover in the modern NFL and he should thrive immediately cleaning up behind the Chargers aggressive defensive line.
This is an A pick because they went out and got the player they wanted while addressing a need.
Round 4, pick 112: RB Joshua Kelley, UCLA
Kelley is a versatile running back who should compete to crack the Chargers backfield right away. He is a back who does it all even if he lacks an outright specialty.
There are questions about his pass catching in college but he’s shown his hands and pass catching ability at the Senior Bowl. The Bolts have other players who can easily fit that role already.
The Chargers get an A for selecting Kelley too. They get bonus points for drafting the hometown kid who also played two very productive seasons at UCLA. He finished with 2,303 rushing yards and 24 rushing touchdowns in two seasons with the Bruins. .
Round 5, pick 151: WR Joe Reed, West Virginia
The Chargers add a receiver and kick returner with Reed. Los Angeles had other needs especially on the offensive line so they get a C for this deal. It’s no knock on read or what he can bring to the team but there were other needs.
Round 6, pick 186: S Alohi Gilman, Notre Dame
He projects as box safety and sub linebacker. That isn’t really a need for the Chargers so Gilman will probably primarily be a special teams player initially. He’s got the size and speed to be a good player. Again, L.A. probably should not have ignored the offensive line so here is another C-.
Round 7, pick 220: WR K.J. Hill, Ohio State
Hill could be the steal of the draft. The Ohio State receiver finished his career with 201 receptions, 2,332 receiving yards and 20 touchdowns in four seasons with the Buckeyes. Hill’s measurables won’t impress anyone but he finds a way to get open and the Chargers can find a role for that.
Overall, the Chargers stuck to the plan by adding a quarterback and some weapons where they could as well as getting a thumper in the middle of the defense. L.A. also added players who can help on special teams.
The Bolts get a B for hitting it out of the park on their first two picks. However, they reached on some average who prospects who might be limited to special teams at least initially.