Chargers Seven Round NFL Draft Recap

 

The 2023 NFL draft was held from last Thursday, April 27th through Saturday, April 29th in Kansas City, Missouri. The Los Angeles Chargers had seven picks in this year's seven round NFL draft. Below is a review of the Chargers seven selections:

Round 1 - Quentin Johnson, Wide Receiver, TCU – 6-foot-3, 208 pounds. The Chargers like big wide receivers and Johnson will fit in well. Johnson is big, strong and long. He had a vertical leap of 40.5" at the NFL combine. He ran a 4.49 forty on his pro day. He was a first team All-Big-12 selection in 2021 and 2022.

Johnson had some terrific games in college, including his performance against Michigan in the national championship semi-final game, where he caught 6 passes for 163 yards and a touchdown. He also had some not so terrific moments, which include only one catch for three yards in the national championship game and eight dropped passes in the 2022 season. Johnson has some big play potential and will fortunately have wide receivers Mike Williams and Keenan Allen to learn from.


Round 2 – Tuli Tuipulotu, Outside Linebacker, USC – 6-foot-1, 266 pounds. Tuipulotu was the Defensive Player of the Year in the Pac-12 conference. Ourlads Scouting Services describes Tuipulotu "as the definition of versatility." The Chargers like versatile players and at USC, Tuipulotu played every position on the defensive line. He will likely be used at both outside linebacker and at defensive end. Tuipulotu is from the Los Angeles area, having played his high school football at Lawndale high school.


Round 3 – Daiyan Henley, Linebacker, Washington State – 6-foot-1, 230 pounds. Henley is another very versatile athlete. He played wide receiver, safety, and linebacker at Nevada. Transferred to Washington State and played linebacker. He was a first team All-Pac-12 selection at linebacker and a finalist for the Butkus award, given to the best linebacker in college football.

He is a fast, physical and aggressive tackler. At Washington State last season, he had 106 tackles in 12 games, with 12 tackles for loss and four sacks. At the NFL combine, Henley showed his speed with a 4.54 forty, 1.55 ten-yard split, and he had a 35" vertical leap. Henley played his high school football at Crenshaw high school in Los Angeles, so he is coming home. He was the City MVP for the Los Angeles Coliseum league champs his senior year at Crenshaw.


Round 4 – Derius Davis, Wide Receiver, TCU – 5-foot-9, 168 pounds. Davis is a speed pick and a teammate of Quentin Johnson at TCU. Johnson has good speed. Davis has great speed. He won the Louisiana 3A State championship in 200 meters at 21.76 seconds and won the 400 meters with a time of 47.76. At the NFL combine among wide receivers, Davis ran the second fastest forty at 4.36 and the fastest ten-yard split at 1.46.

Davis was voted the Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Year in 2022, returning two punts for touchdowns. At TCU, he returned five punts for touchdowns and one kickoff for a touchdown. For his career at TCU, he caught 112 passes, had a combined 1,696 yards from the line of scrimmage and 11 touchdowns. The Chargers will be able to use him in a variety of ways. A very good pick.


Round 5 – Jordan McFadden, Offensive Guard, Clemson. 6-foot-2, 305 pounds. McFadden won the Jacobs Blocking Award in the ACC as the best blocker in the conference and was named first team All-ACC at left tackle. He is projected to move inside at the next level, although he could help at tackle if needed. A three-year starter at Clemson, McFadden was projected to go in the third round, so the Chargers got a good player and a good valuable pick in the fifth round.


Round 6 – Scott Matlock, Defensive Tackle, Boise State. 6-foot-4, 308 pounds. Matlock is from Homedale, Idaho. He was second team All-MWC in 2021 & 2022. Matlock also caught two touchdown passes at Boise State playing tight end. He will add much-needed depth at the defensive tackle position. He is considered a good fit for head coach Brandon Staley's gap and a half defensive front scheme.

Round 7 – Max Duggan, Quarterback, TCU – 6-foot-1, 207 pounds. A third player from TCU in the Chargers seven round draft. Duggan is a gamer. Ourlads Scouting Services describes him as someone who is, "short on sheer talent and ability, but he is a proven winner with the intangibles and toughness that can elevate a pro quarterback room."

Duggan took over for the starter in the 2022 opener and had a storybook season, leading TCU to the Championship game. Duggan won the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, which is awarded annually to the top upperclassmen quarterback in the nation. He was a runner-up in the Heisman award. Duggan ran a 4.52 forty at the NFL combine, the second fastest among quarterbacks. A tough football player who is a modern-day Joe Kapp.


The Chargers went into the offseason with very little salary cap space, so it has been a quiet offseason for them in free agency. With only seven draft picks, the Chargers could not fill every need through the draft. They were able to add some speed at wide receiver, and some depth on the offensive and defensive lines.

But they were unable to address other issues that the team could have this season and in the future. The Chargers needed a tight end for the future, both for quarterback Justin Herbert and for salary cap purposes. They chose Quentin Johnson over tight end Dalton Kincaid of Utah. In a deep tight end class, the Chargers decided to pass on tight ends in the draft. The Chargers may end up regretting passing on Kincaid and the deep tight end class.


Running back Austin Ekeler is in the final season of a contract that will pay him $6.25 million. He could leave after this season, so it might have helped if the Chargers added a running back in the draft. Backup running back Joshua Kelly is also in the final year of his contract. The Chargers also did not draft a defensive back. They needed additional depth in the secondary, both at safety and cornerback.

The Chargers lost safety Nasir Adderley to retirement and cornerback J.C. Jackson is coming back from a ruptured patella tendon in Week 7 in 2022. The Chargers hope Jackson will be physically ready for training camp in late July. Jackson struggled on the field in 2022 before his injury. The Chargers will hope that they can find a gem or two among their undrafted free agents to fill some of their needs.


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