Los Angeles Chargers NFL draft picks 2022: Analysis for every selection – Los Angeles Chargers Blog

11:30 PM ET

  • Lindsey ThiryESPN


    • Covered Rams for two years for Los Angeles Times
    • Previously covered the Falcons
    • Has covered the NBA and college football and basketball

COSTA MESA, Calif. — The 2022 NFL draft is being held Thursday through Saturday and every Los Angeles Chargers’ draft pick will be analyzed here.

The draft will be held in Las Vegas on the strip in the area adjacent to Caesars Forum two years after it was initially scheduled. The 2020 NFL draft was turned into a virtual event because of COVID-19.

Here’s a pick-by-pick look at how each player Los Angeles has selected will fit.

Round 1, no. 17 overall: Zion Johnson, OG, Boston College

My take: Chargers general manager Tom Telesco isn’t taking any chances when it comes to protecting third-year franchise quarterback Justin Herbert, who has demonstrated the talent to take the Bolts deep into the playoffs. Last year, Telesco used a first-round pick to select left tackle Rashawn Slater. Now, the 10th-year general manager remains in the trenches — turning down the opportunity to select Washington cornerback Trent McDuffie — and picks up Johnson, who can start immediately at guard. With Johnson’s selection, it remains unclear who will start at right tackle, but there are options between Storm Norton, who started 15 games at the spot last season, and Matt Feiler, a 16-game starter last season at left guard who also gained pro experience at right tackle in Pittsburgh. Offensive linemen don’t typically grab headlines in April, but two consecutive years of linemen picks could have the Chargers making news in late January.

The Chargers selected offensive guard Zion Johnson out of Boston College with the No. 17 jumpsuit pick. AP Photo/Michael Dwyer, file

Passing on a cornerback: The Chargers had the option at No. 17 to select McDuffie, who could have rounded out a cornerback trio with JC Jackson and Asante Samuel Jr., and would have assisted in slowing down what’s expected to be several high-octane offenses in the AFC West with Super Bowl-winning quarterback Russell Wilson joining the Denver Broncos and All-Pro receiver Davante Adams signing with the Las Vegas Raiders. Instead, the Kansas City Chiefs added McDuffie with the No. 21 pick, so Herbert must instead face him twice a season. Sixth-year pro Michael Davis remains an option to fill the role at cornerback, but the Bolts likely will want to look to find another challenger at the position in later rounds.

More help for Herbert and offense?: Ahead of the draft, Telesco was asked if the offense would benefit from more speed on the field. Telesco didn’t hesitate. “We could use a little more,” he said. “You can never turn speed down.” Watch for the Chargers to try to find a receiver who can stretch the field, even if it’s not a playmaker who can step in immediately. Also keep an eye on running back, where depth must be built behind Austin Ekeler.

What’s next: The Chargers entered the draft with 10 picks, the most they’ve had since 2004, when they had 11. On Day 2, the Bolts will make a third-round pick — No. 79 overall — after sending their second-round pick to the Chicago Bears as part of a trade for All-Pro outside linebacker Khalil Mack. On Day 3, the Chargers will make eight picks — including two sixth-round and four seventh-round selections.

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