The 2020 NFL Draft starts on Thursday, April 23. As a lead up to the draft, we’ll be giving a team-by-team breakdown for positional needs. For each team, we’ll give an overview of each team’s current depth chart and how big of a need each position in the upcoming draft. Find all teams and the rest of our draft content in our NFL Draft Hub.
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Los Angeles Chargers 2020 Draft Picks Overview
Round 1 (6)
Round 2 (37)
Round 3 (71)
Round 4 (112)
Round 5 (151)
Round 6 (186)
Round 7 (220)
Los Angeles Chargers Offense
by Rich Hribar
2019 Los Angeles Chargers Offensive Ranks
*denotes new addition
The Chargers let Philip Rivers leave via free agency this offseason after 16 seasons with the organization. They then largely stayed out of free agency at the position outside of nibbling on Tom Brady. The staff has said nothing but the right things on entering the season with Tyrod Taylor as their quarterback, but the last time a team went that route, Taylor lasted just three starts before handing over the keys to a first-round rookie passer.
That same scenario could play out here with the Chargers having a long term need at the position and the sixth overall draft pick. Without another team trading up, they are in prime position to have an option to take a passer at that spot with the team being long rumored to be smitten with Justin Herbert.
After letting Melvin Gordon leave via free agency, the Chargers approach the draft with just two backs currently on their roster. The team gave Austin Ekeler a four-year contract this offseason while Justin Jackson enters the third year of his rookie contract.
Ekeler’s touches have gone up from 74 to 145 to 224 over his three seasons in the league while also averaging over 10.0 yards per catch in all three seasons. Anthony Lynn has seemed reluctant to lean into Ekeler as an alpha back when a bigger body is available. In six games without Gordon the past two years, Ekeler has carried 96 times for 349 yards (3.6 YPC) versus his 5.4 yards per tote when in a combo role over the past two seasons. With Jackson also being a lighter back (199 pounds) the Chargers should pursue another back with a bigger frame in this draft.
As strong as they are at the top with Keenan Allen and Mike Williams, Chargers wideouts combined to catch just eight touchdown passes in 2019, the fewest of any wide receiver group in the league a year ago. They also have next to nothing behind those guys. Outside of Allen and Williams, other Charger wideouts combined for just 23 receptions for 256 yards and zero touchdowns.
Allen and Williams (pending fifth year option) enter the final season of their contracts this year, making the position a major need for immediate depth that can produce and future insurance beyond this season.
Los Angeles used the franchise tag on Hunter Henry this offseason. Henry set career highs with 55 receptions and 652 yards a year ago, but once again missed time, playing in 12 games. Through for years, Henry has yet to play a full season, missing 23 career games in four years.
With Henry playing under the franchise tag and Virgil Green in the final year of his contract, the team signed XFL standout Donald Parham to a two-year deal. The former Stetson standout had a cup of tea a year with Detroit and Washington a year ago after going undrafted. The Chargers don’t have an immediate 2020 need at the position, but a hole could present itself as early as next year.
LT: Sam Tevi/Trent Scott/Tyree St. Louis
LG: Dan Feeney/Storm Norton
C: Mike Pouncey/Scott Quessenberry*
RG: Trai Turner*/Forrest Lamp
RT: Bryan Bulaga*/Trey Pipkins/Cole Toner
The Chargers have made upgrades this offseason across the line, replacing Russell Okung (who only played in six games a year ago) with Bryan Bulaga and Trai Turner to replace Michael Schofield.
Mike Pouncey missed 11 games in 2019 and enters the final season of his contract while left guard Dan Feeney and tackle Sam Tevi also have expiring contracts after this upcoming season. Both Feeney and Tevi struggled in 2019, with Tevi grading out as the 67th tackle and Feeney the 76th graded guard per Pro Football Focus a year ago. With so many expiring contracts and potential to upgrade at right tackle and left guard, the Chargers have needs on the offensive front despite the upgrades they have made.
Los Angeles Chargers Defense
by Dan Pizzuta
2019 Los Angeles Chargers Defensive Ranks
interior defensive line
Linval Joseph is a great veteran addition to the middle of this defensive line. Joseph has long been one of the most underrated interior defenders who can produce both against the run and with plus pass rush. Behind him, the Chargers will have to hope there’s an improvement from two previous draft picks. 2018 third-round pick Justin Jones was a starter but didn’t make much of an impact. 2019 first-round pick Jerry Tillery also failed to live up to the draft position after being a dominant pass rusher in college.
No team relies on its top two edge rushers to create pressure than the Chargers. When healthy both Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram play almost all of the defensive snaps, though Ingram played just 13 games in 2019. To add, no team rushed just four more than the Chargers last season (82%), per SIS. There is little behind the two on the roster. Nwosu rushed the passer on 87.7% of his pass snaps, but his sub-10% pressure rate was well below an acceptable mark to make a difference.
The Chargers used more nickel personnel last season after they went heavy Dime in 2018. That helped with Thomas Davis on the field, but the 37-year-old was on just a one-year deal and reunited with Ron Rivera in Washington during the offseason. Nick Virgil was signed, but his work in Cincinnati wasn’t close to what the White/Tranquill/Perryman rotation did last season, especially in coverage. The need here depends on how often the Chargers plan on playing linebackers in 2020.
Adding Chris Harris to this group isn’t really fair. Harris has said he was told he’d be kept in the slot with the Chargers, which raises questions about what the Chargers will do with Desmond King but if the Chargers go back to a high rate of Dime+ packages, they can keep both on the field. King is quite good and it makes little sense to move on from a good, young player with versatility.
Casey Hayward is also great (12th in Adjusted Yards allowed per coverage snap among 58 corners with at least 400 coverage snaps. The question here comes from the other outside corner, where there could potentially be an upgrade but the Davis/Facyson duo was above average by AYa/CS last season.
All this group needs is a healthy Derwin James and it will be ok. A healthy James also limits the holes in other positions like corner and linebacker, which he can play by moving seamlessly around the defense. It also helps that Rayshawn Jenkins and Nasir Adderley make a good pair of safeties on their own.