2020 NFL Draft: Los Angeles Chargers preview

Los Angeles Chargers 2020 NFL Draft Capsule.

TEAM DRAFT NEEDS

Quarterback
Don’t put it past Anthony Lynn to roll with Tyrod Taylor as his starter, but the Chargers look primed to take a quarterback in the first round after Philip Rivers was cut loose. Will they trade up for Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa? If not, Oregon’s Justin Herbert seems likely at No. 6.

Hunter Henry
Los Angeles Chargers TE Hunter Henry. (Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports)

Offensive tackle
The Chargers traded left tackle Russell Okung — for a younger starter in right guard Trai Turner — and probably can’t trust Trent Scott or Trey Pipkins opposite Bryan Bulaga. There’s no easy answer beyond Round 1, but it’s possible they could take Louisville’s Mekhi Becton or Georgia’s Andrew Thomas at No. 6 and circle back for a quarterback such as Oklahoma’s Jalen Hurts in Round 2 or 3.

Interior offensive line
Turner was a nice addition, but left guard Dan Feeney and center Mike Pouncey are entering contract years, with Pouncey coming off a serious neck injury and turning 31 in July. At least one developmental option must be added.

Linebacker
Denzel Perryman is injury-prone and entering the final year of his contract. Meanwhile, Thomas Davis is gone, and Kyzir White’s progress stalled in his return from injury in 2019. Gus Bradley’s defense requires quality coverage linebackers, but value might not line up in Round 1, unless Los Angeles shocks everyone by taking Clemson’s Isaiah Simmons.



Wide receiver
Keenan Allen is in a contract year and Mike Williams could be, too, depending on the Chargers’ fifth-year option decision. Even if both are retained, another option outside is needed.

Cornerback
Both Chris Harris and Casey Hayward will be 31 by September.

FIVE-YEAR DRAFT HISTORY

Typically quiet in free agency, the Chargers don’t take many risks in the draft. That approach has resulted in a lot of hits on top picks.

Melvin Gordon
Melvin Gordon. (Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports)

First-rounders Melvin Gordon (2015), Joey Bosa (2016), Mike Williams (2017) and Derwin James (2018) have all delivered, and the only major disappointment in the second round is the injury-prone Forrest Lamp. There have been later-round hits as well, especially in the 2017 class, which is still entirely intact and delivered an All-Pro nickel back (Desmond King) along with other regular contributors.

The jury remains out on the 2019 group after a quiet rookie season, but the overall body of work is strong.

Best pick: S Derwin James, R1 2018 — Perhaps it was an easy decision once he slid, but the Chargers nabbed a rookie All-Pro in James, whose absence for most of 2019 was a huge blow.

Worst pick: OL Forrest Lamp, R2 2017 — It’s hard to blame Lamp, who tore his ACL and missed his entire rookie season, but he has been a massive bust so far.

2019 STATISTICS

  • TOTAL OFFENSE: 367.4 (10th)
  • RUSHING: (90.8 (28th)
  • PASSING: 276.6 (6th)
  • TOTAL DEFENSE: 313.1 (6th)
  • RUSHING: 112.8 (18th)
  • PASSING: 200.3 (5th)

–Field Level Media (@FieldLevelMedia)