The Chargers come into the 2022 offseason optimistic despite a brutal end to the season.
They started so hot and looked like one of the AFC’s teams to beat for the next decade with budding star Justin Herbert. Then, however, something shifted, and the season tailed off.
While there is a good bit of star-power on both ends of the ball like the aforementioned Herbert, wide receiver Keenan Allen, running back Austin Ekeler, EDGE Joey Bosa, and safety Derwin James, the Chargers did not have the depth or balance to really win.
Nevertheless, those core pieces are all either young or in their primes and can be built around this season. In the draft, the Chargers worked to fill the holes on their roster and maximize this contention window despite playing in the league’s toughest division with Patrick Mahomes, Russell Wilson, and Davante Adams in town.
Chargers NFL Draft Picks 2022
- Round 1, Pick 17 (17th Overall): Zion Johnson, OL, Boston College
- Round 3, Pick 15 (79th Overall): JT Woods, S, Baylor
- Round 4, Pick 18 (123rd Overall): Isaiah Spiller, RB, Texas A&M
- Round 5, Pick 17 (160th Overall): Otito Ogbonnia, DT, UCLA
- Round 6, Pick 16 (195th Overall): Jamaree Salyer, OL, Georgia
- Round 6, Pick 36 (214th Overall): Ja’Sir Taylor, DB, Wake Forest
- Round 7, Pick 15 (236th Overall): Deane Leonard, DB, Mississippi
- Round 7, Pick 39 (260th Overall): Zander Horvath, FB, Purdue
In the offseason, the Chargers traded away their second-round pick (48th overall) and a 2023 sixth-round pick to the Bears for Khalil Mack. This leaves a massive gap between their first and second pick, their only two in the top-100.
However, heading into the draft, the Chargers had 10 total picks, the third-most in the NFL. The goal was to address needs on the offensive line and the defense as a whole.
Zion Johnson was an excellent way to start this off, giving them one of the best offensive linemen in a talented class. As for the defensive line, they only drafted one defensive tackle, Otito Ogbonnia, out of UCLA in the fifth round.
Outside of Derwin James, the Chargers secondary was one of the worst in the NFL last year. Drafting a safety early on and adding two defensive backs late will hopefully be a step in the right direction for this secondary.
Justin Herbert is turning into a young star in the NFL and has some excellent pass-catching weapons on offense. Austin Ekeler is a highly talented dual-threat running back, however, they’ve struggled to find a change of pace back over the past few years, and Isaiah Spiller is a nice addition to this offense.
They didn’t draft a single wide receiver or tight end, despite this being a talented, deep wide receiver class. This shows us their confidence in Mike Williams and veteran Keenan Allen.
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Note: The Chargers NFL Draft predictions below were published before the 2022 NFL Draft.
Pre-Draft Chargers NFL Mock Draft Predictions 2022
- Round 1, Pick 17 (17th Overall): Jordan Davis, DT, Georgia
- Round 3, Pick 15 (79th Overall): Khalil Shakir, WR, Boise State
- Round 4, Pick 18 (123rd Overall): Alec Lindstrom, IOL, Boston College
More Possible Chargers Draft Targets: Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State; Zamir White, RB, Georgia; Rachaad White, RB, Arizona State
Pre-Draft Chargers Team Needs 2022
1. Defensive Tackle
The Chargers have had one of the worst rush defenses in the NFL over the past few seasons, primarily due to their atrocious interior line. While Joey Bosa can hold down his end outside, the tackles have not held their own.
2. Wide Receiver
Yes, the Chargers did just re-sign Mike Williams and have star receiver Keenan Allen under contract, but they are missing speed at wide receiver badly, and targeting one of the top players at the position in this class could fix that issue.
3. Offensive Line
Drafting Rashawn Slater in Round 1 last year was a savvy move, yet the Chargers are still light on the offensive line. Los Angeles bolstered their interior by signing former Green Bay Packers center Corey Linsley, but they lost right tackle Bryan Bulaga and do not have much talent here in general.
Chargers May Also Consider Drafting: Linebacker, Running Back, Tight End