Los Angeles Chargers Final NFL Draft Grades 2024: Joe Alt, Ladd McConkey, Junior Colson Usher in Jim Harbaugh Era

How did the Los Angeles Chargers fare in the 2024 NFL Draft? As their grades show, LA made eye-opening moves in Jim Harbaugh's first draft.

With their pick allotment in the 2024 NFL Draft, were head coach Jim Harbaugh and general manager Joe Hortiz able to put the Los Angeles Chargers back on the path to championship contention? Their NFL Draft grades hold the answer.

Los Angeles Chargers 2024 NFL Draft Grades

Round 1, Pick 5: Joe Alt, OL, Notre Dame

There was speculation that the Chargers could have engineered a trade down from fifth overall with a QB-needy team, but instead, they stayed put and selected Joe Alt.

Alt is my fourth overall prospect, and a blue-chip tackle prospect who combines dominating size at 6’9”, 321 pounds with truly uncommon recovery athleticism, flexibility, and leverage acquisition – and he became a true hand technician in 2023.

It’s fair to wonder if the Chargers could have traded back, acquired more capital, and still gotten a Round 1-caliber right tackle – but Alt is a blocker you can feel confident about locking down one side of the line for a decade-plus.

Grade: A-

Round 2, Pick 34: Ladd McConkey, WR, Georgia

After bolstering the offensive line with the fifth overall pick, the Chargers proactively traded up to 34th overall in the second round and took Ladd McConkey to shore up the WR position.

After trading away Keenan Allen and stewing with Quentin Johnston’s uninspiring rookie results, the Chargers needed this kind of talent infusion within their weapons core, and McConkey increases the dimensionality of their core on Day 1.

My pro comparison for McConkey is Greg Jennings. He’s a turbocharged technician with vertical speed, but he weaponizes that speed with sharp, manipulative route running, converts with strong hands over the middle, and adds a RAC element underneath.

Grade: A

Round 3, Pick 69: Junior Colson, LB, Michigan

By this point, the Chargers had already addressed two of their most pressing needs — OT and WR — so they were able to address LB in Round 3. Unsurprisingly, Harbaugh chose to grab the soulful leader of his championship-winning Michigan defense: Junior Colson.

At around 6’2”, 238 pounds, with 32 ½” arms, Colson passes the eye test, and he has elite functional athleticism with his burst and fluidity. In coverage, he’s particularly proficient, with high-end matching skills and zone awareness — but he’s a physical, energetic competitor in the box as well.

Colson still has room to be more consistent with his processing in congestion and his gap recognition, but he has the physical tools to be a high-end starter, and he’s the exact kind of emotional presence a defense needs at the second level.

Grade: A

Round 4, Pick 105: Justin Eboigbe, DT, Alabama

The Chargers needed to reinforce their defensive front, and Justin Eboigbe accomplishes that as a strong 3-tech with hybrid capabilities. His upside is a bit capped as a pass rusher, but Eboigbe has a good power arsenal, and he’s one of the best run defenders in the class.

Jim Harbaugh got a first-hand look at Eboigbe’s skills in the CFB Playoff.

Grade: B+

Round 5, Pick 137 (From NE): Tarheeb Still, CB, Maryland

The Chargers needed to add to their CB room at some point, and Tarheeb Still is a solid addition. At 6’0”, 188 pounds, with high-end explosiveness and transition freedom, Still has a great physical foundation. He’s also a plus playmaker with versatility between the boundary and the slot.

Technique and applied physicality are areas in which he can improve, but in Round 5, he’s a solid depth signing.

Grade: B

Round 5, Pick 140: Cam Hart, CB, Notre Dame

The Chargers ended up doubling up at the CB position in Round 5, pairing Cam Hart with Still. At around 6’3”, 200 pounds, Hart profiles as more of a pure boundary cornerback, which meshes well with Still’s skill set. He’s not the most fluid, but he’s explosive, patient in zone, and incredibly physical in support. At his maximum, Hart can be a solid starter.

Grade: B+

Round 6, Pick 181: Kimani Vidal, RB, Troy

The Chargers had a decent core of veteran RBs coming into the draft with Gus Edwards and J.K. Dobbins, but Kimani Vidal could eventually become the starter — and become a very good starter at that.

At 5’8”, 214 pounds, he’s a compact, energized, low-to-the-ground runner who combines creative instincts and short-range malleability to win in congestion. More than that, he’s a physical finisher and a capable receiver and could be a steal down the road.

Grade: A+

Round 7, Pick 225: Brenden Rice, WR, USC

The son of Hall of Fame WR Jerry Rice, Brenden Rice finally went off the board in Round 7 to the Chargers — their second WR selection of the draft after McConkey.

Though Rice lacks refinement as a separator and isn’t always the most flexible on redirections, he’s an explosive vertical athlete at 6’3”, 208 pounds, with impressive catch-point instincts and scramble-drill IQ. He may be limited to a role as a vertical threat, but he’s a good bat swing this late.

Grade: B+

Round 7, Pick 253: Cornelius Johnson, WR, Michigan

It wouldn’t be an inaugural Jim Harbaugh draft without another Michigan selection. To be fair, however, Cornelius Johnson is actually a very good pick at this juncture. In fact, he’s graded higher on my board than the WR Los Angeles took 28 picks earlier. With his size-speed athleticism and route-running chops, Johnson can exceed his draft capital in the pros.

Grade: A

Los Angeles Chargers 2024 NFL Draft Summary

There was a sense ahead of the draft that the Chargers wouldn’t be able to hit everything they needed to without trading down from No. 5 overall.

Fast forward to now, and they have a blue-chip starting OT duo, a WR core with new life and variable skill sets, a young and talented defensive back room, new run defense reinforcements up front, and a defensive leader at LB.

KEEP READING: 2024 NFL Draft Complete Grades for All 7 Rounds

The Chargers covered a lot of ground in the 2024 NFL Draft, and were able to do so while also making moves of substance at multiple spots. This draft should help kickstart the process of reworking the roster in a competitive AFC West.

Final Grade: A

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