The wait for the 2023 NFL Draft is nearly over.
Months of preparation and speculation will come to a head Thursday night in Kansas City.
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Here are five final thoughts ahead of the draft:
1. Embrace the chaos
Nobody really knows what is going to happen in Round 1. I don't know. You don't know.
Even Chargers General Manager Tom Telesco said it is "sometimes a lost cause" trying to predict everything that will go down.
The difference between Telesco and the rest of us is that he's solely focus on the draft for months and will be prepared for any scenario that unfolds.
Can he predict what will happen? No. But he'll be ready for whatever does.
Telesco said Monday that sometimes pre-draft predictions are simply an exercise in futility.
"If I did a mock draft, there's nothing saying that mine would know more than yours, to be honest with you," Telesco said. "I don't know what other people are going to do. Everyone thinks they do, but I just don't know.
"Nobody gives out information, so you make educated guesses based on where their roster is, where their depth charts are, the style of players they like, the schemes they play," Telesco added. "In the end, it's hard to tell. I still go through the whole process trying to figure it out. Obviously, the farther you're down in the draft, the harder it is to project who is going to be there."
For many, the draft is the best and most exciting times of the year.
And the chaos that ensues is a big reason why. Embrace it.
2. Offense in Round 1?
The Chargers going offense has been the sexy and repetitive pick in most mock drafts this offseason.
Even if you look back at Mock Draft Tracker 1.0 we published in late January, all 11 pundits in that piece had the Chargers taking an offensive player.
The most-recent Mock Draft Tracker was still heavy on adding to that side of the ball, with nine of 13 experts projecting an offensive player to the Bolts.
There are certainly valid reasons to assume the Chargers will go that direction Thursday night.
It's never a bad idea to give Justin Herbert more weapons in a loaded AFC field — plus Austin Ekeler's contract situation and needing more overall depth — factor in here.
We'll see if the Chargers go offense with their initial first-round pick for the fourth year in a row.
3. The case for defensive depth…
With that said, don't discredit a defensive player in Round 1.
The Chargers don't need a starter at any level on defense, but they could certainly use more bodies and talent everywhere.
Up front and on the edge, the starters are set. But a long-term defensive lineman or edge rusher would make sense.
The same goes for linebacker, cornerback and safety. A possible first-round defender wouldn't need to start right away, but could see the field in certain packages and prep themselves for a long-term starting role.
Keep an eye on cornerback and edge rusher in Round 1 if the board falls a certain way.
Take a look back at the second week of the Chargers 2023 off-season program in monochrome
4. Don't forget about special teams
The Chargers are set at punter (JK Scott) and long snapper (Josh Harris) entering 2023, while Dustin Hopkins and Cameron Dicker are set to battle for the kicking job.
But with DeAndre Carter now with the Raiders, the Bolts have an opening at both kick and punt returner.
"Kick returner and punt returner, we will probably have to look in a couple of different areas and have some people come in and compete for that job," Telesco said Monday.
The new returner may very well be on the roster, but the Bolts could also look to add a specialist in the draft.
"I think there are plenty of possibilities there," Telesco said. "Whether it works out or not, that's a different story. But, yeah, there are plenty of possibilities there."
Alabama's Jahmyr Gibbs, Georgia's Kenny McIntosh, Shepherd's Ronnie Brown and Oklahoma's Marvin Mims, Jr., are just a few returner options in the draft.
5. More beef up front
The Chargers starting offensive line is set.
From left to right, it will be Rashawn Slater, Zion Johnson, Corey Linsley, Jamaree Salyer and Trey Pipkins III.
And while there is some depth behind them, Telesco hinted Monday that more could be needed.
"We still need to add some depth to that position group, because you never know if those five guys are going to line up for all 17 games, but we feel good about it," Telesco said. "I think it is a strong point of the football team."
The odds of drafting an offensive lineman in the first three rounds might be slim, but this could be a position group to watch on Day 3.
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