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Chargers Draft Scenario: What if the Bolts Take a WR in Round 1?


The 2024 NFL Draft is just over two weeks away, and plenty of intrigue remains about what the Chargers will do with the No. 5 overall pick.

This is the first of a three-part series looking at potential options the Chargers have in Round 1, beginning with a focus on the Bolts taking a wide receivers up high.

Why a WR makes sense?

The Chargers currently have just four wide receivers on their roster in Joshua Palmer, Quentin Johnston, Derius Davis and Simi Fehoko.

The Bolts might end up carrying that many on their active roster once the regular season rolls around, but it's clear that more bodies are needed after the Chargers traded Keenan Allen and released Mike Williams.

Chargers General Manager Joe Hortiz said as much earlier last month.

"I feel good about the guys that are here. Yes, it is a position we need to add pieces to it," Hortiz said. "We have free agency still, there's players out there in free agency still that we like.

"There's also a really strong draft of wide receivers and there's going to be players that come available after the draft," Hortiz added.

ESPN draft analyst Jordan Reid agreed with Hortiz's notion that more wide receiver depth is a priority and added that he could see the Chargers taking more than one wide receiver in the draft.

"They need some help," Reid said. "I still think they need multiple new guys in that room so it wouldn't be surprising to see them double dip at wide receiver.

"That could be at No. 5, or they could take two guys on Day 2 or Day 3. It just depends on how they want to address it," Reid added.

For this exercise, we'll dive into who (and why) the Chargers could take a wide receiver at No. 5 overall.

Who could be the pick?

The 2024 wide receiver draft class is loaded.

NFL Network draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah has a dozen wide receivers in his top 50 list.

Reid, meanwhile, has 11 in his top 50 prospects. So does Dane Brugler of The Athletic, as he has 17 total wide receivers in his top 100 prospects.

So, yeah, it's a dazzling group but three wide receivers stand out among the rest and could be in play at No. 5.

The trio of Ohio State's Marvin Harrison, Jr., LSU's Malik Nabers and Washington's Rome Odunze are all viewed are likely top-10 picks, with one or two of them even going in the top five.


Harrison is viewed as one of the draft's elite prospects, as he is Reid's top player and is No. 2 overall for both Jeremiah and Brugler.

Jeremiah's scouting report noted that Harrison has "ideal size, speed and production" and that he is a "a prototypical No. 1 receiver and should enjoy immediate NFL success."

Harrison, whose father is a Hall of Fame wide receiver, is the only two-time All-American wide receiver in Ohio State history.


Nabers, meanwhile, is viewed as a consensus top-five prospect.

Brugler has Nabers as his No. 3 overall player while Jeremiah and Reid ranked Nabers fourth on their lists.

Jeremiah wrote Nabers is "a dynamic receiver with outstanding competitiveness and production" and is a player who "explodes off the line in his release, creating immediate separation."

Nabers ended his college career as LSU's all-time leader in receptions (189) and receiving yards (3,003).


Although we list Odunze third here, he's certainly no slouch as Jeremiah has him third overall and ranked ahead of Nabers. Reid and Brugler both have Odunze as the No. 7 overall player.

Jeremiah's scouting report on Odunze opined that he is "a big, athletic wideout with exceptional hands" who can "play outside or in the slot."

Odunze led the nation with 1,640 receiving yards in 2023, which was also a Washington single-season record.

If the Chargers end up taking a wide receiver at No. 5, there's a good chance it will be one of the three receivers listed above.

How does a WR impact the Bolts in 2024 and beyond?

Hortiz and the Chargers are excited about the potential of Palmer and Johnston in 2024. Davis, a top-tier returner on special teams, could also be in line for more offensive snaps.

But adding a wide receiver here would potentially give the Chargers a long-term superstar at the position to pair with Justin Herbert.

Palmer, a 2021 third-round pick, is entering the final year of his rookie contract. And although Johnston was a first-round pick a year ago, he had an uneven rookie season in 2023.

And yes, while Chargers Head Coach Jim Harbaugh is certainly going to emphasize the run game, offenses also need a game-breaking pass catcher, too.

Perhaps Harrison, Nabers or Odunze are the pick at No. 5. If so, it could create a dynamic pairing with Herbert for years to come.

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