Chargers Seven Round NFL Mock Draft
April 27, 2023
The Los Angeles Chargers enter the 2023 season with high hopes after making the playoffs in 2022. They were able to work around their salary cap issues and retain their key players for the 2023 season, but they have been relatively quiet in free agency due to their lack of salary cap space. That means the NFL Draft will be the significant source of new talent on the Chargers this off-season.
The Chargers need to use this draft to find some offensive talent to help quarterback Justin Herbert. They need to get faster, younger and more explosive on offense at the skill positions. Kellen Moore is the new offensive coordinator, and he needs the pieces to get this offense humming. Herbert needs to be able to go downfield rather than just dumping the ball off to his running backs.
Running back Austin Ekeler has one year left on his contract at $6.25 million per year. He wants a new contract, which is not going to happen. Ekeler is in his seventh season with the Chargers, and this may be his last season as a Charger. Spotrac.com has the Chargers at $67.5 million over the salary cap for 2024. That will make it difficult to sign Ekeler to a new contract and to keep some of their key starters.
The Chargers need more draft picks and trading back a couple of times for additional draft picks would help. Players drafted are on four-year rookie contracts and the rookie salary cap scale works as a salary cap within the NFL salary cap. It works well for NFL teams, especially teams that need cap space. Here is our seven round NFL mock draft prediction or best guess:
Round 1 – Dalton Kincaid, Tight End, Utah. If the Chargers are serious about beating the Chiefs and winning an AFC West Division title, they need more offensive weapons. Kincaid is a 6-foot-4, 246-pound tight end from Las Vegas that can do it all as a receiver. He can line up as a traditional “Y” type tight end on the line or as an “F” tight end or flex tight end. Kincaid will likely be moved around a lot by Moore.
In his college career, Kincaid caught 35 touchdown passes and had just four dropped passes. In a game against USC this season, Kincaid caught 16 passes for 234 yards and one touchdown in leading Utah to a 43-42 win over USC. He caught all 16 passes targeted at him. He is a matchup nightmare. Good offensive teams have good receiving tight ends to help their quarterback. Herbert needs a tight end like Kincaid.
Round 2 – Zach Charbonnet, Running Back, UCLA. Charbonnet is a bell-cow running back who could replace Ekeler if he leaves after this season. The 6-foot-1, 220 pound back rushed for 1,359 yards in ten games last season at UCLA, adding 14 rushing touchdowns and 37 receptions. He will not be brought down by arm tackles, will bounce off tacklers and has the speed and acceleration for explosive plays. Charbonnet ran a 4.53 forty at the NFL combine and had a 37” vertical jump.
Ourlads Scouting Services says of Charbonnet, “his body and body of work scream NFL. Has well distributed muscle mass with tremendous thickness around his hips and calves. He is built like a truck. Catches everything he gets his hands on and will make a difference as a blocker.” Charbonnet played his high school football locally at Oaks Christian in Westlake Village.
Round 3 – Jayden Reed, Wide Receiver, Michigan State. Reed is a 5-foot-11, 191-pound wide receiver with 4.4 speed in the forty. Reed played his high school football in Naperville, Illinois. Reed scored 30 touchdowns in college, including three on punt returns. He was a two-time All-Big Ten wide receiver and a 2021 All-American as an All-purpose player.
He would provide the Chargers with a multi-purpose wide receiver. He can line up anywhere on the field and can return kicks. Ourlads Scouting Services describes him as a “gamer that makes big plays in big moments, coming across as a guy that plays bigger than he is.” He will provide the Chargers with the much-needed speed they need on the field.
Round 4– Cory Trice Jr., Cornerback, Purdue – Trice is a big cornerback at 6-foot-3, 206 pounds who could be moved inside to safety in the NFL. A three-year starter, Trice is effective as a press corner or in zone coverage. He has a reputation as a physical corner. Trice has speed to go with his size, running a 4.47 forty at the NFL combine. The Chargers like players that are flexible, and Trice would fit in well.
Round 5 – Daniel Scott, Safety, California – Scott is a 6-foot-1, 208-pound safety from Pasadena. He played his high school football at St. Francis high school in La Canada. Scott delivered terrific numbers in his workouts at the NFL combine. Scott ran a 4.45 forty, had a 39.5” vertical jump, and benched pressed 225 pounds 22 times.
Scott had 167 tackles and six interceptions over the past two seasons with Cal. He was a team captain, a special teams MVP as a sophomore. The Chargers lost safety Nasir Adderley to retirement and need a player that can fill in a safety, that is versatile, and that can play special teams. Scott would be a good fit with the Chargers.
Round 6 – Thomas Incoom, Outside Linebacker, Central Michigan – Incoom is an edge rusher who would play outside linebacker in the Chargers 3-4 defensive scheme. Incoom is 6-foot-2, 265 pounds with 4.66 forty speed. A first team All-MAC selection, he tied for third in the nation with 11.5 sacks and added 18.5 tackles for loss. The Chargers need another player coming off the edge that can pressure the quarterback and Incoom is a player with a high ceiling who brings it on every play.
Round 7 – Joey Fisher, Offensive Guard, Shepherd – Fisher played for Shepherd college, a Division II football program in West Virginia. He played right tackle at Shepherd but will be moved inside in the NFL. The 6-foot-4, 296-pound lineman ran a 4.90 in the forty, benched press 225 pounds 40 times, and ran a 1.67 10-yard split.
Fisher was not invited to the NFL combine, but his workout numbers beat out every offensive lineman at the NFL combine. He is an athletic freak and a physical player. Fisher did get invited to the Senior Bowl, but an injury kept him from participating. He is a bit of a project with a high ceiling and worth a seventh-round pick.