The Chargers currently sit with the 21st pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, a spot that will give the Bolts options in the back half of the first round.
The board could shake out in a variety of ways, but if the Bolts decide to stay put, there will be players who can make an impact from the jump on both offense and defense.
But this could a prime position to make a trade, something Pro Football Focus' Mike Renner believes is a possibility. Renner, PFF's lead draft analyst, joined the latest edition of Chargers Weekly with Matt "Money" Smith and Chris Hayre and assessed the Chargers draft position with less than a month away.
Smith went through a simulated mock draft and gave Renner options at No. 21.
"I like the idea of trading down with all of those guys on the board right there," Renner said. "I think they're in a good spot to trade down because I think there's kind of a couple tiers in this draft class and I don't think they're going to get into that first tier of position players.
"They're going to have a lot of options on the board available," Renner added.
In Smith's sim, the Chargers were on the clock with names such Utah tight end Dalton Kincaid, Georgia EDGE Nolan Smith, Boston College wide receiver Zay Flowers and others still available.
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Renner's pick for the Chargers first-round selection came on offense, as he believes the player's attributes would fit in perfectly with what the Chargers have.
"If I had to pick one of those guys though, the guy I keep coming back to for the Chargers, if he's there, is Dalton Kincaid, tight end," Renner said. "I don't usually go to bat for tight ends that high in the draft, which should tell you how good of a prospect Kincaid is, but it's just the reliability aspect of him."
"Massive catch radius, some of the ball skills I've ever seen from a tight end prospect, so pairing him with that offense, I just think he would go off," Renner later added. "I think he would be a perfect fit and kind of something they're missing."
Offense is a popular pick for the Chargers in mock drafts thus far, but most of them have the team picking a wide receiver with their first-round pick.
Renner acknowledged that while the Bolts are missing someone who can stretch the field, this draft has players like that available in the later rounds.
"One, they're missing pure dynamism, a guy who can really stretch the football field," Renner said. "But to me, you can find that in the second and third round in this receiving class. I don't think this class is short on those type of wide receivers that really have some juice to bring to the table.
"The beauty of a Dalton Kincaid is he's not getting covered by corners the way Mike Williams and Keenan Allen are," Renner later added. "He's getting covered by safeties, he's getting covered by linebackers when he sees man coverage and all of a sudden that's mismatch, that's green light going right to him. I think that would be a thing that they're missing that would really have a wave like effect in that it would impact everyone else and make everyone else's lives easier in that receiving core."
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For that reason, Renner's second-round selection for the Chargers did in fact come at the wide receiver position. As far as the field-stretching, speedy wide receiver, there are a few names to keep in mind in Day 2, but Renner's pick for the Bolts was Houston's Nathaniel Dell.
"[Dell's] a guy that if you're not getting one of the wide receivers, you're not getting that dynamism on Day 1 at the wide receiver position, it would be guys like Tank Dell, guys like Kayshon Boutte from LSU, guys like Marvin Mims from Oklahoma, all names that bring some athleticism," Renner said. "Even Tyler Scott from Cincinnati bring low 4.4 [40-yard dash], take the top off the defense sort of thing.
"You just need that threat," Renner added. "You don't necessarily need them to come in and catch 100 balls, you just need that to be able to deploy in certain ways in your offense."
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Renner's first two picks for the Chargers were on the offensive side, but his third-round pick came on the other side of the field, where he believes the Chargers can get some versatility.
The defense has many versatile players, starting with safety Derwin James, Jr., and Renner added another chess piece on the defensive side of the ball in Round 3.
"I would love [Jartavius] Martin, the Illinois slot corner/safety," Renner said. "I think he's a versatile body type that can do either, has played both he's played outside corner and safety at Illinois, very explosive.
"That's a guy I would love for Brandon Staley and that defense, just adding more versatile players to a defense that covets versatility," Renner added. "Derwin James, when you have a guy like that, you want other guys who can fill for Derwin James to play a bunch of different roles. I think Quan Martin would be a great fit for them at that point."
The first round of the 2023 NFL Draft begins April 27 at 5 p.m. (PT).
To listen to the full episode, click here.
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