There is a change in the air in Los Angeles. A year after Philip Rivers left the team and Justin Herbert emerged, the Chargers are looking for a head coach after Anthony Lynn’s firing. The promising rookie led the Chargers to hard-fought victories, which pushes the Chargers down to the 13th overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft. In this Chargers 7-round 2021 NFL Mock Draft, I’ll use the PFN Mock Draft Simulator in an attempt to fill the holes across their team.
The Chargers are looking to continue an upward swing. Herbert and a bevy of other pieces, such as Keenan Allen, Derwin James, and Joey Bosa, make the future look bright. However, if this team were perfect, they would be in the playoffs. The Chargers are that team that is on the verge of taking that next step but never seem to make it. They are notorious for failing to close out games. The good news is it appears that Herbert and company are beginning to figure out how to close.
Part of those late-game struggles was coaching, but the team has apparent deficiencies across the board. Ending the year on a strong four-game winning streak, the Chargers have to feel good about their momentum heading into the 2021 season. Still, where can they improve?
Chargers Pre-Senior Bowl 7-Round 2021 NFL Mock Draft
- Round 1, Pick 13: Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech
- Round 2, Pick 47: Landon Dickerson, IOL, Alabama
- Round 3, Pick 77: Greg Newsome II, CB, Northwestern
- Round 4, Pick 108: Jordan Smith, EDGE, UAB
- Round 5, Pick 142: Elijah Mitchell, RB, Louisiana Lafayette
- Round 6, Pick 173: Josh Imatorbhebhe, WR, Illinois
- Round 6, Pick 180: Olaijah Griffin, CB, USC
- Round 7, Pick 207: David Moore, IOL, Grambling State
Chargers 2021 NFL Mock Draft pick-by-pick analysis
Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech
Naturally, to give Herbert the best ecosystem to succeed, the offensive line must improve immensely. Honestly, the Chargers could attack this from any angle. However, the value at 13 in this Chargers 7-round Mock Draft was at tackle. Most notably, it was with Christian Darrisaw from Virginia Tech. A big, dominant athlete at the position, Darrisaw is a blast. His footwork is some of the smoothest in the class. In the open field, Darrisaw moves and climbs to the second level with ease and efficiency.
Darrisaw immediately slides in at left tackle as a long-term upgrade over Trey Pipkins. Just from a purely schematic standpoint, Darrisaw fits better into a zone-run scheme. His movement ability and experience with the Hokies lends itself to that. It is exciting when you realize that Darrisaw still has room to grow in his frame. Technically, his hand placement is sporadic and inconsistent. However, the physical tools are there, and Darrisaw has only improved in his years as a starter. This is an easy pick for the Chargers.
Landon Dickerson, IOL, Alabama
Again, just attack the offensive line relentlessly. In this Chargers 2021 NFL Mock Draft, the Chargers get an upgrade at center, too. Dan Feeney is up and down at the position. That inconsistency is debilitating for an offense trying to develop a security blanket in front of Herbert.
Feeney is not the number one priority to be upgraded upon, but Landon Dickerson is excellent value at this spot. A steady, polished prospect, Dickerson is the definition of a plug-and-play starter. This is a young man that gets push and sets a tone. That type of physicality is what the Chargers need more of one this offensive line. Dickerson’s ability to play at guard and center makes him particularly appealing to the Chargers, too. Whatever they plan to do with Feeney with Dickerson on board, it should be a net gain.
Greg Newsome II, CB, Northwestern
It is sad seeing Casey Hayward fall a bit off the proverbial cliff. The man is 31 years old, and now that is the age where many cornerbacks meet their demise. On the positive side of things, Michael Davis is emerging as a real gamer. Chris Harris is still solid inside at the nickel, too. However, cornerback is emerging as a massive need for the Chargers to address in this Chargers 7-round Mock Draft.
Enter in Greg Newsome II from Northwestern. This is a guy who was off the radar to a potential top-100 pick throughout the season.
Newsome’s blend of fluidity, quick feet, and awareness makes him an enticing cornerback. He has all the physical traits to go mirror and match with receivers on the outside. However, he has the explosiveness and football IQ to anticipate routes and feel the combinations in zone coverage. On top of it, he has impressive ball skills. Newsome helps out at Chargers cornerback room here.
Jordan Smith, EDGE, UAB
The status of Melvin Ingram’s future in Los Angeles is uncertain right now. The duo of Bosa and Ingram is a fearsome one I am sure the Chargers would like to see together through the future. However, wherever their priorities lie will guide that decision. Even with that, it never hurts to get more quality pass rusher depth.
Jordan Smith is a former Florida player who has broken out this season. His athleticism and flexibility are on another level compared to everyone he has gone up against this season. Smith’s explosiveness, in particular, is the impressive attribute he possesses. Few players can make tackles fear their speed rush and dip-rip combination as much as Smith in this class. The tools are there to make a starter if he can develop a concrete pass rush plan and expand his arsenal of moves.
Elijah Mitchell, RB, Louisiana Lafayette
Running back is a weird position for the Chargers. It is by no means a detriment. Austin Ekeler is a supremely talented football player. He acts essentially as another receiver out there with his versatility. Ekeler is the very reason why the Chargers are not addressing this as a need until late in the draft. However, behind him, there is not much confidence to be had. That is why in this Chargers 7-round NFL Mock Draft, they address it.
Josh Kelley is fine but does nothing to elevate the offense around him. That change of pace back is something they need. Elijah Mitchell is a guy who can do that. A Senior Bowl invitee, Mitchell is a fun blend of a dense running back with enough wiggle to make guys miss and manipulate defenders in the hole. Even better, Mitchell still maintains that power aspect and can run right through defenders. He has the ability to create yards and be a starter-level back in the NFL. With Ekeler, they will have two strong threats in the backfield.
Josh Imatorbhebhe, WR, Illinois
This is a situation where the Chargers have so many picks, so why not take a chance on a super athletic late-round receiver? Listen, that receiver room is solid, but adding more contributors is never a bad thing. Imatorbhebhe is a freak. When Imatorbhebhe was coming out of high school, a viral video showed him jumping an insane 47-inch vertical. It undeniably shows up on tape too. Imatorbhebhe has serious hops and can go above the rim and get it.
That explosiveness translates well into all-around athleticism. Imatorbhebhe is quick and slick in and out of his breaks. There is minimal wasted movement throughout his routes and releases. His speed is solid, but nothing impeccable. However, with a guy like Justin Herbert, it is hard not to see the natural marriage between these two working out,
Olaijah Griffin, CB, USC
When the need is dire enough, and you have enough picks, doubling down is never a bad idea. Olaijah Griffin, in particular, is a fascinating prospect. He is maddeningly inconsistent. Griffin can get grabby, take the bait, and get beat downfield as a result. He does not have the recovery speed to make up for those technical shortcomings.
However, in this Chargers 7-round 2021 NFL Mock Draft, Griffin is selected because the potential is there. Griffin has oily hips and quick footwork to mirror routes. He has a tenacious mentality to work downhill that is infectious around the secondary.
My favorite trait of his is that his aggressiveness and natural tools lend themselves to being a strong press man coverage cornerback. This young man wants to set a tone and reroute you. Griffin is often successful too, but technical shortcomings leave him faltering. If he can fix that, the Chargers could get a gem.
David Moore, IOL, Grambling State
This draft has a consistent mentality of setting a tone of physicality. The Chargers already have some real junkyard dogs on their team, and only building upon that can mean good things. David Moore is the epitome of that in the trenches. Not only does he add much needed interior offensive line depth, but the guy is a certified people mover. The pure strength and physicality Moore brings to the table is phenomenal and his best trait.
In this Chargers 7-round 2021 NFL Mock Draft, Moore brings the hurt. He gives the Chargers a true ground and pound type of player. However, Moore is not a deer in the headlights in space. He moves rather well, especially as a puller. There is some tightness and an overall clumsiness in his movements, but I would trust him to be a solid depth piece who can sustain a relatively long career with his attributes.
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