The off-season has officially begun and the mock draft season has heated up. With a high-profile, top ten pick, the Los Angeles Chargers will have plenty of options come draft night.
The Chargers could use another target for Philip Rivers, a safety that can solidify the secondary, or even an offensive tackle to make sure Rivers stays upright.
Let’s take a look at who the draft experts think the Chargers will select in the first round.
Dan Kadar (SBNation.com): S Malik Hooker - Ohio State
The last time we checked in with Dan, he had the Chargers selecting Hooker as well. Up to this point, Hooker is definitely the popular pick. He provides a playmaking ability at safety that has been missing since Eric Weddle’s departure.
Todd McShay (ESPN): S Malik Hooker - OSU
In McShay’s second mock draft, he has the Chargers selecting Malik Hooker. Even with the announcement of surgery, many still see him as a top ten pick.
L.A.'s biggest need right now is at offensive tackle, but I don't see a player at that position worthy of a top-10 pick. Hooker would fill another void for the Chargers, who could use a rangy, instinctive safety patrolling the deep middle of the field. Hooker tied for third in the FBS with seven interceptions in his first year as a starter.
Daniel Jeremiah (NFL.com): S Malik Hooker - OSU
This would fill a major need for the Chargers; Hooker would be ultra-productive roaming behind a gifted collection of pass rushers.
The Hooker train rolls on as all three experts have him landing with Los Angeles. The last time we checked in with Jeremiah he had the same pick.
Walter Cherepinsky (Walterfootball.com): S Malik Hooker - OSU
Charlie Campbell was the first to report that Malik Hooker is out 4-6 months after two surgeries. I considered dropping him out of this slot, but I'm going to hold off for at least one week. The Chargers like Hooker, and it doesn't sound as though he'll miss any regular-season action, so it's not like they won't have him for his rookie campaign in the wake of this news.
Besides, Hooker fills a huge need. The Chargers were already weak at safety in the wake of Eric Weddle's departure, and now Jahleel Addae happens to be an impending free agent.
Matt Miller (BleacherReport.com): WR Mike Williams - Clemson
Will Keenan Allen ever be back to 100 percent? That's a major question mark for the Los Angeles Chargers as they look to load up for one more run under veteran quarterback Philip Rivers. Adding a big wide receiver who can separate over the top has to be a priority.
Along with safety, wide receiver is a need for the Chargers. They have talent at the position with Tyrell Williams and Keenan Allen, but health has been an issue for the latter.
Williams, is a big-bodied receiver who could develop into a true number one receiver for Rivers. Adding Williams could put the Chargers in a great position to score a crazy amount of points next season.
Chris Burke (SI.com): WR Corey Davis - Western Michigan
This is an interesting pick. Davis does have plenty of supporters and is right there with Williams as being one of the top receivers in this class. Davis does have that small-school mentality that could entice the Chargers brass.
Davis long has been considered this class’s WR1 ’round these parts. The Chargers have a very interesting collection of receivers, led by the oft-injured Keenan Allen, but Davis can be better than any of them ... and soon.
Josh Norris (Rotoworld.com): S Jamal Adams - LSU
I could see the Chargers going with an offensive lineman, but instead I’ll choose a safety who many view as a top 10 talent in this class.
Another safety, but Adams usually doesn’t fall to number seven in the other mock drafts. As prospects, many feel Adams and Hooker are neck and neck. I like Adams more, but both would be welcomed additions to the Chargers secondary.
Note that Norris says the Chargers could go offensive lineman at this spot. It is a weak class at that position, but the Chargers could be going into the season with holes at almost every position along the offensive line.