Los Angeles Chargers 2023 NFL Mock Draft: Josh Downs Adds Dynamic Element at WR

    Even after going 10-7, Los Angeles needs to build a more complete team around Justin Herbert. In this Chargers NFL Mock Draft, they attempt to do so.

    You don’t normally feel this much uncertainty with a team that just went 10-7, made the playoffs, and has an elite franchise QB in Justin Herbert. But the Los Angeles Chargers are feeling the uncertainty this offseason, and in this NFL Mock Draft, they look to make it right. In this scenario, simulated trades were active among other teams via the Mock Draft Simulator, but the Chargers held steady and did not make any moves.

    Latest Los Angeles Chargers 2023 NFL Mock Draft

    Josh Downs, WR, North Carolina | Round 1, Pick 21

    All through the 2022 season, we heard — and saw for ourselves — just how much the Chargers need speed at the wide receiver position. That’s why Jalin Hyatt has been a common match this cycle. But in Round 1, Josh Downs might just provide a more dynamic, versatile kind of speed.

    Hyatt is a definite field-stretcher, and Downs doesn’t quite have the top-end speed that he does. But Downs is still a 4.4 athlete with elite explosiveness. On top of that, he’s a route-running technician who can tempo his routes, manipulate space, gather RAC yards, and extend beyond his frame.

    Derick Hall, EDGE, Auburn | Round 2, Pick 54

    In the immediate timeline, the Chargers appear set at EDGE, at least on the starting lineup. Joey Bosa and Khalil Mack are still together as one of the league’s more imposing tandems. However, Mack is getting older, and if he eventually becomes a potential cap casualty, his dead cap is below $10 million for the next two years.

    With such a strong EDGE class on the horizon in the 2023 NFL Draft, the Chargers should aim to capitalize and add quality young talent to the rotation. In Round 2 of this Chargers NFL Mock Draft, Auburn’s Derick Hall fills that need with his explosive power element.

    Luke Musgrave, TE, Oregon State | Round 3, Pick 85

    Gerald Everett is at least competent for Los Angeles, but his contract will be up in 2024. And the Chargers could use a more explosive, rangy vertical threat to create pressure up the seam and free up other targets. Luke Musgrave fits that mold extremely well.

    MORE: Los Angeles Chargers Offseason Preview 2023

    Musgrave isn’t a finished product just yet. He can further refine his route running and expand his route tree. But as an explosive long-strider with legitimate 4.5 speed at 6’6″, 250 pounds, and a dominating catch radius, he could be an unlocking piece for Herbert, especially with Downs adding pressure elsewhere.

    Jonathan Mingo, WR, Ole Miss | Round 4, Pick 122

    Regardless of whether or not Joe Lombardi returns as offensive coordinator, it might behoove the Chargers to add a quality underneath threat, complementing the verticality that Downs and Musgrave provide. Jonathan Mingo categorizes well as that kind of prospect.

    At 6’2″, 225 pounds, Mingo is a prototypical size-speed threat with the explosive athleticism and contact balance to create for himself in the short range. He also has a vertical dynamic to his game, but his ability to eat underneath is what completes the Chargers’ cast.

    Nick Broeker, OL, Ole Miss | Round 5, Pick 153

    The Chargers might have a quality starting five up front with Rashawn Slater, Jamaree Salyer, Corey Linsley, Zion Johnson, and Trey Pipkins. Injuries always seem to haunt Los Angeles, however, so adding quality depth and versatility is a constant chore.

    In Round 5 of this Chargers NFL Mock Draft, Nick Broeker brings the depth and versatility they seek. He’s a dense, well-sized interior blocker who has experience at tackle as well. While Broeker doesn’t have any elite traits, he has enough mobility to work upfield and has some pop in his hands.

    Max Duggan, QB, TCU | Round 6, Pick 186

    Easton Stick and Chase Daniel are both free agents this offseason, and the latter could be nearing retirement. Even if the Chargers bring one back, they could be in the market for a new backup QB in the 2023 NFL Draft. In the later rounds, Max Duggan gives them what they seek.

    Duggan isn’t an early-round prospect, in spite of his production. He doesn’t have elite arm talent, and his mechanics and decision-making are still very streaky. But what Duggan does have is athleticism and steely competitive toughness. Those two qualities are very valuable in a backup role.

    Daniel Scott, S, California | Round 7, Pick 217

    Without an abundance of cap space, bringing back Nasir Adderley might not be possible for the Chargers. The Chargers likely won’t find his immediate replacement in Round 7, but in this mock draft, they do add an intriguing 2023 NFL Draft sleeper in Daniel Scott.

    Scott has good size at 6’2″, 215 pounds, with notable coverage ability. In 2022, he racked up three interceptions and four pass deflections, showing off translatable playmaking skills and an affinity for positioning on the back end. Scott’s not an elite athlete, but he might have the traits to earn a role.

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