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By Bill Seals
Sports Reporter 

Analyzing and Reviewing the Chargers 2024 NFL Draft

 

Photo courtesy of Troy Athletics

Running back Kimani Vidal, selected by the Chargers in the 6th round of the 2024 NFL Draft, was the second leading rusher in D1 college football in 2023 with 1,661 yards on the ground.

The Los Angeles Chargers have completed the 2024 NFL Draft, their first under the new leadership of head coach Jim Harbaugh and general manager Joe Hortiz. The Chargers had nine draft picks from Round One through Round Seven in the three-day draft held in Detroit, Michigan last week.

The Chargers accomplished their goals in this draft. The team wanted to improve the offensive line, and they drafted the top ranked offensive lineman in this draft, Joe Alt of Notre Dame. They needed to add wide receivers to the roster, and they added three to the roster, including one of the better receivers in this draft at the top of the second round, Ladd McConkey of Georgia.

The Chargers needed linebacking depth and competition and added one of the top three linebackers in the draft, Junior Colson of Michigan. The Chargers needed cornerback depth and competition and added two cornerbacks in the fifth round. They needed a downhill type of runner in the backfield, and they grabbed the No. 2 rushing back in the nation in the 6th round. Below is a review of the nine Chargers draft picks.

Round 1 (No. 5 overall) – Joe Alt, Offensive Tackle, Notre Dame. Alt gives the Chargers three first round picks in the last four NFL drafts and one of the best young offensive lines in the NFL. Alt adds quality and competition to the offensive line. Alt is a 6-foot-9, 321-pound athletic tackle with a wingspan of 82 3/4 inches. Alt was the top ranked offensive lineman in the 2024 draft. The assumption is that he will play right tackle, but the Chargers insist that they will start their five best offensive lineman, so there could be some movement on the line.

Round 2 (No. 34 overall) – Ladd McConkey, Wide Receiver, Georgia. Ourlads Scouting Services ranked McConkey as the 5th best wide receiver in the 2024 NFL draft. Ourlads describes McConkey "as a refined route runner with a sense of intelligence that is hard to find. Shows a strong understanding of what defenses are trying to both pre-and post-catch." In the national championship win over TCU at SoFi Stadium at the end of the 2022 season, McConkey caught 5 passes for 88 yards and two touchdowns, a game his future wide receiver teammates, Quentin Johnston and Derrius Davis, will not soon forget.

Round 3 (No. 69 overall) – Junior Colson, Linebacker, Michigan. The 6-foot-2, 238-pound linebacker was a second-team All- Big Ten selection in both 2022 and 2023 for the Michigan Wolverines. Ourlads had him ranked as the second-best linebacker in the 2024 draft, so this is a very good selection at this point for the Chargers and one that is familiar to former Michigan defensive coordinator Jesse Minter, the new Chargers defensive coordinator.

Round 4 (No. 105 overall) – Justin Eboigbe, Defensive Tackle, Alabama. Eboigbe was a first-team All-SEC selection in 2023, his only season as a starter. The 6-foot-4, 297-pound defensive lineman had 63 tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss, and seven sacks. He missed most of the 2022 season with a neck injury. The versatile Eboigbe played on the outside at Alabama but will likely move inside with the Chargers.

Round 5 (No. 137 overall) – Tarheeb Still, Cornerback, Maryland. A four-year starter and a second-team All-Big Ten selection in 2023. Still will provide much-needed depth at cornerback. Still had five interceptions in 2023. Ourlads says of Still, "as a zone defender has vision to see multiple threats and the quarterbacks intentions. Adept at reading and reacting to the delivery key."

Round 5 (No. 140 overall) – Cam Hart, Cornerback, Notre Dame. Defensive coordinator Jesse Minter said that he likes tall corners, and he will like Hart, who is a 6-foot-3, 202-pound cornerback with a 79" wingspan. At the NFL combine, he ran a 4.5 forty and had a vertical jump of 39.5 inches. Hart was a three-year starter and a team captain for Norte Dame. A very good value pick in the 5th round.

Round 6 (No. 181 overall) – Kimani Vidal, Running Back, Troy. Vidal was the Sun Belt Conference Offensive Player of the Year and the second leading rusher in the nation with 1,661 yards. At the NFL Combine, Vidal measured in at 5-foot-8, 213 pounds and ran a 4.46 forty. He rushed for over 4,000 yards in his career and caught 92 passes. He is a downhill runner with speed. In the Sun Belt Conference Championship game, Vidal rushed for 233 yards and five touchdowns. Vidal should contribute right away.

Photo courtesy of USC Athletics

Wide receiver Brenden Rice, selected in the 7th round by the Chargers, caught 12 touchdown passes for USC in 2023. Rice was a Second-Team All-Pac-12 selection in 2023.

Round 7 (No. 225 overall) – Brenden Rice, Wide Receiver, USC. There were 35 wide receivers selected in the 2024 NFL draft and 31 were selected before Rice. That is difficult to understand. Rice was projected as a fourth or fifth round prospect. Rice is the son of Hall-of-Fame wide receiver Jerry Rice. He caught 12 touchdowns passes in 2023, averaging 17.6 yards per reception and was selected to the 2023 All-Pac-12 team. Rice was a sprint star in high school, finishing third in the Arizona state finals in the 100-meter dash at 10.78 and third in the 200 meters at 21.84. A very good value pick.

Round 7 (No. 253 overall) – Cornelius Johnson, Wide Receiver, Michigan. Johnson was the 35th receiver selected in the 2024 NFL draft. Johnson played for Harbaugh at Michigan, so he knows what he is getting and the upside that Johnson brings. A three-year starter and X receiver at Michigan. Johnson is a 6-foot-3, 212-pound receiver with 4.4 speed who is considered a very good run blocker. Ourlads says of Johnson, "the tools are good enough to warrant a roster spot and his unique blend of size, speed, and physical presence raises his floor."

 

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