Los Angeles Chargers NFL Draft 2024 guide: Picks, predictions and top needs

“The Beast,” Dane Brugler’s comprehensive guide to the NFL Draft, is here.

The Los Angeles Chargers have the fifth pick in the NFL Draft when Round 1 begins April 25 in Detroit. The Chargers own nine picks in the seven-round draft. They own all seven original picks, plus an additional pick in the fourth round following their trade of Keenan Allen to the Chicago Bears, and have a compensatory pick near the end of the seventh round.

Chargers draft picks

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Every pick in the seven-round NFL Draft.

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NFL Draft 2024 ‘The Beast’ Guide: Dane Brugler’s scouting reports and player rankings

NFL Draft Details

• Round 1: April 25, 8:00 PM ET
• Rounds 2-3: April 26, 7:00 PM ET
• Rounds 4-7: April 27, noon ET

All rounds will be broadcast on ESPN/ABC and NFL Network and in Spanish on ESPN Deportes.

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About the chargers

• Head coach: Jim Harbaugh (first season with team)
• Last year’s record: 5-12

Last season was a disaster for the Chargers. They came in with Super Bowl aspirations. On December 15, coach Brandon Staley and general manager Tom Telesco had been fired following an embarrassing 63-21 loss to their biggest rival, the Las Vegas Raiders. Owner Dean Spanos vowed to reshape his organization, and that brought the Chargers to Harbaugh and former Baltimore Ravens director of player personnel Joe Hortiz as their new leadership. Harbaugh and Hortiz have already started the roster makeover. Notably, they moved on from receivers Allen (trade) and Mike Williams (release). They used the added cap space to expand the depth of their roster in free agency. And now they enter the draft with nine picks to advance their vision.

The main position needs of chargers

Wide Receiver: With Williams and Allen gone, the Chargers are thin at receiver. Their top three receivers as it stands now: Joshua Palmer, Quentin Johnston and Derius Davis. Even if the Chargers add a receiver in free agency, they should still look to draft a receiver early – perhaps as early as the No. 5 pick.

Cornerback: The Chargers signed Kristian Fulton in free agency and Asante Samuel Jr., Deane Leonard and Ja’Sir Taylor also return. They need help on the outside and in the slot. Leonard and Taylor are still unproven. Samuel’s ball production is undeniable, but he has weaknesses in his game. Fulton, a 2020 second-round pick, is more of a Flyer signing. This is a position the Chargers should focus on on Day 1 or 2.

Offensive line: Harbaugh, Hortiz and offensive coordinator Greg Roman have stated their goal of building a reliable running game. Better and more focused coaching should help the offensive line. But the Chargers also need to add talent up front in several spots. Center Corey Linsley is expected to retire this season. They need a long-term solution at that position to compete with free agent Bradley Bozeman. They also needed competition at right guard and right tackle.

Internal defense line: Sebastian Joseph-Day was dropped at the end of last season. Austin Johnson left in free agency. Those two played the highest percentage of defensive snaps among the Chargers defensive linemen last season. The Chargers signed Poona Ford. Morgan Fox, Otito Ogbonnia and Scott Matlock, among others, return. Yet this group lacks talent and depth.

Running Back: Gus Edwards is set to return to the revamped running game. Behind him, the Chargers have Isaiah Spiller and Elijah Dotson. They probably need two more pieces for this room. An early Day 3 pick at running back makes sense.

Chargers concept analysis

General Manager Joe Hortiz on No. 5 pick, importance of receivers, Jim Harbaugh’s connection to Michigan

Exploring five trade-up scenarios for the Chargers

Chargers NFL Draft big board: 70 prospects to watch in the first 3 rounds

‘The Beast’: Dane Brugler’s scouting reports and player rankings

Chargers NFL draft mailbag: must-have positions, trade-down returns, offensive line depth

Jim Harbaugh on the value of pick No. 5

What we learned about the Chargers at the NFL combine

Where the Chargers depth chart goes in depth

The Athletics‘s most recent test designs

April 17: Dane Brugler’s full seven-round mock | Response from Daniel Popper
Our draft expert projects all 257 picks, including 10, to the Chargers.

11 April: Chargers are making a trial version 3.0
Leaning on “The Beast” to identify a strong seven-round knockout.

April 8: Nick Baumgardner’s fake design
The Chargers fall to the Atlanta Falcons and may still have the best offensive lineman in the draft.

April 4: Bruce Feldman’s fake design
Feldman’s coaching information has him taking one of the stud WRs for the Chargers at No. 5.

28th of March: Chargers are making a trial version 2.0
The Chargers gain an additional first-round pick (and a third-round pick in 2025) with this trade with the Minnesota Vikings.

March 25: Ben Standig’s experimental design
With QBs 1 through 4, the Chargers land Ohio State star WR Marvin Harrison Jr.

21 March: Beat writer mock concept 2.0
Daniel Popper completes the curatorship with Malik Nabers from LSU.

6 March: NFL GMs, executives mock the draft’s top 10 picks
Chargers move to offensive tackle despite Harrison still on the board.

March 5th: Dane Brugler’s mock design after the combination
Brugler makes a more modest trade as Chargers strengthen the O-line.

The Chargers’ last five top picks

2023: WR Quentin Johnston, pick #21 — The Chargers drafted Johnston in the first round as a developmental player. He was given a bigger role than expected amid injuries to Williams and Palmer. And he struggled objectively. He had a few big drops. His route running lacked guile and refinement. These weaknesses should not have been a surprise. They were on his film at TCU. The new coaching staff is enthusiastic about Johnston’s skills. Can they use him in a way that maximizes his athleticism?

2022: OL Zion Johnson, pick #17 — Johnson has not yet lived up to his draft slot. Much like his rookie year, there were moments in 2023 when his combination of size, strength and intelligence shone through. He just hasn’t found the consistency needed as a run blocker or pass protector yet. He is ready for a big leap within Roman’s scheme and with the coaching of new offensive line coach Mike Devlin and assistant offensive line coach and Chargers legend Nick Hardwick.

2021: OL Rashawn Slater, pick #13 – Slater was an All-Pro as a rookie and emerged as one of the best left tackles in the league. He missed most of his sophomore season with a torn biceps suffered in Week 3. Slater was back in 2023 and started all 17 games for the first time in his career. He struggled with an ankle injury early in the season and that affected his play. But he got healthier in the second half and returned to his All-Pro form. He is a franchise left tackle and is now eligible for an extension.

2020: QB Justin Herbert, pick No. 6 – Herbert has struggled with injuries the past two seasons – broken rib cartilage in 2022 and two broken fingers in 2023. He is still unquestionably a franchise quarterback. Now, after signing a market-defining contract extension in 2023, Herbert must win. That will be the ultimate goal for Harbaugh and Hortiz. And their intention is to give Herbert more help — with a run game and consistent defense — than he’s ever gotten in his career.

2019: DL Jerry Tillery, pick #28 — Tillery was one of the worst picks of Telesco’s tenure. The Chargers fired him in November 2022 after he had a falling out with the coaching staff. He later joined the Raiders, and Telesco — now the GM in Las Vegas — fired him in March for the second time in 17 months. He signed a one-year contract with the Vikings after his release from the Raiders.

(Photo by Malik Nabers: John Korduner/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)