2023 NFL Draft: Los Angeles Chargers
When the Chargers signed cornerback J.C. Jackson and EDGE Khalil Mack in the 2022 offseason, the expectation is that these splash signings would provide a competitive edge to the defense in what was anticipated to be an explosive division and conference.
What Los Angeles received was four and a half games of subpar play from Jackson. Mack fared better with eight sacks and a Pro Bowl, but he is about to turn 32 and can’t be seen as a long-term solution opposite the oft-injured Joey Bosa.
Top Needs: CB, EDGE, OT
Because of this, both cornerback and EDGE are on the offseason priority list once again. Torn patellar tendons are a particularly difficult injury to recover from, especially at that position. J.C. Jackson may never truly return to form. On top of that, slot cornerback Bryce Callahan is due to be a free agent and Michael Davis is set for free agency next offseason. The Chargers could look to add a perimeter corner and/or a slot corner in April.
As for pass rushers, Joey Bosa played a mere five games this regular season and has missed 30 regular season games in his seven seasons in the league. The aforementioned Mack is not going to perform at a high level forever, and the Chargers finished this season in middle of the pack (16th) in sacks (40). A high-ceiling pass rusher that can provide short-term depth and long-term starter potential is definitely a priority on draft night.
On the offensive side of the ball, Los Angeles needs to do a better job protecting Justin Herbert. The Chargers quarterback took 38 sacks this season (7th most) and he is one of the better quarterbacks in the league at eluding them. The Chargers drafted Rashawn Slater early in the 2021 NFL Draft and added Jamaree Salyer and Zion Johnson in the 2022 NFL Draft. If the Chargers can add a strong tackle with positional versatility to kick inside as needed, they would be making Justin Herbert a happy guy.
On offense, another position to keep an eye on is a field-stretching wide receiver. On defense, both an off-ball linebacker and a 3-technique defensive lineman would be strong adds, as Los Angeles is thin in both areas.