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Chargers Mock Draft Tracker 2.0

(AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
(AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

The leadup to the 2023 NFL Draft continues to ramp up, as the Senior Bowl and East-West Shrine Game are in the books. Take a look at who draft analysts have the Bolts selecting at No. 21 overall.

The opinions, analysis and/or speculation expressed below represent those of individual authors and do not represent the opinions or policies of the Chargers' organization, front office staff, coaches and executives.

Mel Kiper Jr., ESPN – DT Tuli Tuipulotu, USC

Last updated: January 25, 2023

"General Manager Tom Telesco has taken offensive linemen in the first round in back-to-back drafts, so this could be where he targets a big guy on defense. Tuipulotu played mostly on the edge for the Trojans and racked up 13.5 sacks last season, 8.5 of which came when he was lined up at end. At 290 pounds, though, he fits in L.A.'s 3-4 scheme as a big end who can help in the run game and take some pressure off Joey Bosa."

Matt Miller, ESPN – OLB Nolan Smith, Georgia

Last updated: February 6, 2023

"A torn pectoral muscle in late October ended Smith's season, but the 6-3 senior posted 11.5 sacks in his career while, like most Georgia defenders, working in a heavy rotation. He is a versatile linebacker who is comfortable standing up or playing with his hand down and has the first-step quickness to stun blockers while also being agile enough to play in space as an off-ball linebacker. That's a perfect for the Chargers' base 3-4 scheme and today's NFL.

Smith, just 235 pounds during the season, will need to add strength, but his ability to quickly get into the backfield gives the Chargers a long-term pass-rusher opposite Joey Bosa. And in the meantime, he can help in space at linebacker when Bosa and Khalil Mack drop down to defensive end."

Lance Zierlein, – OT Paris Johnson Jr., Ohio State

Last updated: February 7, 2023

"Johnson is still a work in progress, but he has a chance to step in immediately and learn on the go for a team that is ready to win now."

Danny Kelly, The Ringer – LB Trenton Simpson, Clemson

Last updated: February 2, 2023

"The Chargers add to an already-talented defense with another dynamic playmaker in Simpson here. A rangy, versatile defender with the ability to drop back into coverage, chase opponents sideline to sideline, or even rush the passer off the edge, Simpson is a spark-plug player that adds speed to the middle of L.A.'s defense."

Chris Trapasso, CBS Sports – WR Jalin Hyatt, Tennessee

Last updated: February 3, 2023

"New offensive coordinator Kellen Moore will allow Justin Herbert to push the ball downfield more frequently than the QB did with Joe Lombardi. So it's time to get Herbert a serious vertical weapon. That's precisely what Hyatt is."

Check out Chargers star saftey Derwin James playing dodgeball, hanging with the fellas and pulling flags at the 2023 Pro Bowl Games in Las Vegas, Nevada

Ryan Wilson, CBS Sports – OT Dawand Jones, Ohio State

Last updated: February 6, 2023

"We'll see if Jones ultimately find his way into the first round, but it's hard to overlook just how dominant he was in one day of practice at the Senior Bowl. Yes, his footwork needs some fine-tuning but his huge frame, long arms and enormous wingspan more than make up for what he lacks in quickness. He's block-out-the-sun big, even when standing next to his offensive linemates."

Nick Baumgardner, The Athletic – TE Darnell Washington, Georgia

Last updated: January 30, 2023

"Justin Herbert gets a unicorn. The Chargers have more pressing needs, so cornerbacks Cam Smith and Deonte Banks might make more sense here. The Chargers also need a tight end, however, and Darnell Washington could be really special. Everyone has seen the clips. We'll see what the testing at the combine does to Washington's stock, but it likely won't hurt."

Kyle Stackpole, CBS Sports – TE Darnell Washington, Georgia

Last updated: February 6, 2023

"It's always ideal to surround Justin Herbert with as many weapons as possible, and with Darnell Washington, you get that PLUS being able to open up holes for Austin Ekeler in the running game."

Eric Edholm, – WR Jordan Addison, USC

Last updated: February 3, 2023

"The Chargers need another threat at wide receiver if this offense wants to add another dimension. It's a short drive from the facility to find some help in the game-breaking Addison."

Take a look back at the best photos of Justin Herbert's 2022 campaign

Josh Edwards, CBS Sports – TE Darnell Washington, Georgia

Last updated: February 3, 2023

"Darnell Washington is a big-bodied target for Justin Herbert, but he is also an effective blocker in the run game."

Charles McDonald, Yahoo Sports – WR Zay Flowers, Boston College

Last updated: February 1, 2023

"… Flowers was a big-play machine for Boston College and would fit well in that role."

Trevor Sikkema, Pro Football Focus – WR Zay Flowers, Boston College

Last updated: January 30, 2023

"The Chargers need to get more dynamic on offense. They'd love to get a receiver who could stretch the field vertically, but there's no Jameson Williams or Chris Olave to choose from in this class.

Flowers is dynamic and could still be what the Chargers need, even if he's not known as a vertical receiver. At 5-foot-10 and 175 pounds, he reportedly has 4.3-to-4.4-second 40-yard dash speed, and that shows up in his ability to separate against coverage and his 503 yards after the catch this past season."

Marcus Mosher, Pro Football Focus – WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Ohio State

Last updated: January 26, 2023

"… Smith-Njigba might be a slot-only in the NFL, but he gets open and makes nearly every catch. He would give quarterback Justin Herbert another reliable pass catcher to make the Chargers' offense even more dangerous."

Take a look at the best photos from the Chargers 2022 campaign through the lens of team photographer, Mike Nowak, manager of photography, Ty Nowell, seasonal photographer, Mackenzie Hudson, and gameday photographer, Noel Vasquez.

Vinnie Iyer, Sporting News – OT Broderick Jones, Georgia

Last updated: February 1, 2023

"The Chargers will get Rashawn Slater back at left tackle but Trey Pipkins and Storm Norton are pending free agents and Jamaree Salyer might be better suited for the inside. Jones is a very agile as a natural pass protector and can also work to get stronger in the running game."

Ian Cummings, Pro Football Network – RB Bijan Robinson, Texas

Last updated: February 5, 2023

"… Bijan Robinson, meanwhile, is a flaming stallion of some sort. A 6'0", 220-pound back with elite agility and instincts, he'd reinvent the team's run game and take pressure off Justin Herbert."

Joe Marino, The Draft Network – TE Michael Mayer, Notre Dame

Last updated: February 1, 2023

"We only got to see one season of Hunter Henry with Justin Herbert and the tight end production for the Los Angeles Chargers has been lacking since. In Michael Mayer, Los Angeles lands a cerebral player that simply knows how to get open, catch the football, and block. He could provide a steady and reliable middle-of-the-field target for Herbert and elevate the offense."

Joe Broback, Pro Football Network – WR Zay Flowers, Boston College

Last updated: February 3, 2023

"The Zay Flowers bandwagon is pretty full at this point, so hop on before it's too late. Boston College did what it could to feature its star receiver, but he didn't get a ton of help. It's weird to think that he'll see better matchups in the NFL, but that might be the case.

Flowers is an explosive weapon who gets going in a hurry. He's not the biggest receiver in the class, but his ability to separate from his matchup stands out. Justin Herbert could always use another weapon in the passing game, and it's tough to see the Chargers overlooking a talent like Flowers."

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