Los Angeles Chargers NFL Draft Grades 2023: Quentin Johnston Adds to Justin Herbert’s Arsenal

    What are the Los Angeles Chargers' grades for their selections in the 2023 NFL Draft as they look to address their main needs this offseason?

    Are the Los Angeles Chargers just a piece or two away from Justin Herbert leading them to a Super Bowl? Did they find that piece or two in the 2023 NFL Draft? The Chargers’ draft grades tell the story of how Los Angeles’ 2023 NFL Draft unfolded.

    Los Angeles Chargers Grades for the 2023 NFL Draft

    Round 1, Pick 21: Quentin Johnston, WR, TCU

    A popular landing spot for the 2023 NFL Draft’s top wide receiver prospects in mock drafts throughout the cycle, the Chargers make it back-to-back pass catchers off the board in the early 20s.

    While Chargers fans clamored for a Jordan Addison or Zay Flowers-type pass catcher, Quentin Johnston gives Herbert a genuine three-level threat at the NFL level. Johnston has the size and physicality to terrorize on the perimeter, while his deceptive speed relative to his size enables him to be an after-the-catch weapon.

    If he can clean up some drops that were evident on his college tape, Johnston is going to quickly establish himself as Herbert’s best friend for the Chargers.

    Grade: B+

    Round 2, Pick 54: Tuli Tuipulotu, DL, USC

    The Chargers address a position of need with one of the most productive players in all of college football during the 2022 season. Tuli Tuipulotu tallied a ludicrous 22 tackles for loss and 13.5 sacks as he emerged as a game-wrecker in the Pac-12.

    MORE: PFN’s FREE NFL Mock Draft Simulator With Trades

    Although he weighed in substantially less at the NFL Combine than he was listed during his time with the Trojans, his combination of size, strength, and explosion should make him a difficult edge rusher to compete against in the NFL. With offensive coordinators having to game plan against Khalil Mack and Joey Bosa, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Tuipulotu in the backfield early in his NFL career.

    Grade: A-

    Round 3, Pick 85: Daiyan Henley, LB, Washington State

    One of the greatest stories in the 2023 NFL Draft, Daiyan Henley was a former WR at Nevada who made an almost seamless transition to playing the linebacker position at the Power Five level for Washington State.

    He’s an explosive, speedy downhill force who boasts sideline-to-sideline range. Henley has the short-area burst and fluidity of movement that allows him to impact the game in coverage, with his experience as a WR helping his understanding of route concepts.

    For a player some might consider undersized despite being CHISELLED, Henley boasts impressive tackling form. The Chargers add another impact-maker on defense.

    Grade: A-

    Round 4, Pick 125: Derius Davis, WR, TCU

    The Chargers double up on TCU wide receivers, adding Derius Davis to first-rounder Johnston. While Johnston brings the size, Davis is a true burner who can be the playmaker who takes the top off a defense in this Chargers defense. That said, there were more highly-ranked WRs on the PFN Big Board.

    Grade: C

    Round 5, Pick 156: Jordan McFadden, OT, Clemson

    A lot of people expected the Chargers to address the offensive tackle position earlier in the draft, but they leave it until the fifth round to add protection pieces for Herbert. While he may transition inside at the NFL level, Jordan McFadden’s combination of solid pass protection, devastating run blocking, and elevated technical ability make this a solid pick for the Chargers.

    Grade: B

    Round 6, Pick 200: Scott Matlock, DT, Boise State

    An ascending prospect through the 2023 NFL Draft process, Scott Matlock began to receive some hype late in the day. The former Boise State defensive tackle has demonstrated the ability to impact the backfield and plays the game with impressive competitive toughness.

    His lateral agility allows for some versatility, but he’ll need to spend some time in the weight room before he can be a contributor at the NFL level.

    Grade: C+

    Round 7, Pick 239: Max Duggan, QB, TC

    The Los Angeles Chargers find their new quarterback of the future, explaining why Justin Herbert hasn’t been signed to a new contract yet. Just kidding. Max Duggan will provide competition for Easton Stick as a competent backup who is able to use his mobility and competitive toughness to extend plays.

    Duggan’s football intelligence makes him an ideal clipboard holder. The Davey O’Brien QB of the year following his exploits for TCU this fall, he joins teammates Johnston and Davis as Horned Frogs heading to the West Coast. They could have added a cornerback here.

    Grade: B-

    What Were the Chargers’ Biggest Needs Entering the Draft?

    • WR, OT, RB, CB, EDGE

    The Chargers have the need — the need for speed. While their trio of receivers are talented, they’re the opposite of fast. Speed is the great equalizer on offense. Speed opens up the middle of the field because safeties are forced to turn and burn with vertical routes over the middle of the field. Without speed, an offense is allowing defenses to pinch the intermediate middle of the field with their safeties and linebackers.

    But Los Angeles also needs to protect Herbert long enough for him to hit those windows. Upgrading from Trey Pipkins should be a priority, although the Chargers may be missing out on the top RT options by the time they select.

    The Chargers are also a popular landing spot for Texas RB Bijan Robinson, particularly after Austin Ekeler requested a trade.

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