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Mel Kiper Mock 2.0: Chargers go protection over flashiness

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Vrbo Citrus Bowl - Michigan v Alabama Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr posted his second NFL Mock Draft of the year this week and after linking the LA Chargers to quarterback Justin Herbert in his first edition, he went for added protection on the offensive line this time around. Kiper mocked Alabama offensive tackle Jedrick Wills to the Chargers at the sixth overall pick after having three quarterbacks go off the board in the top five, including Herbert.

Remember a year ago when the Chargers were coming off a 12-4 regular season and a playoff win? We’re a long way from that, and now stalwart quarterback Philip Rivers won’t return, and they have several decisions to make on free agents, including tight end Hunter Henry, running back Melvin Gordon and linebacker Jatavis Brown. This is a team with some talented pieces but a few glaring holes, so let’s fix one of them with Wills, an elite left tackle prospect who could start immediately on the right side, too. Russell Okung has one year left on his contract, and Wills could be the franchise blindside protector (unless L.A. ends up with Tua Tagovailoa). A quarterback obviously makes sense here too, but with Tagovailoa and Justin Herbert off the board, they shouldn’t reach. They could instead look to free agency for their 2020 starter, or stick with Tyrod Taylor, who won’t turn the ball over.

In our draft fan vote of what to do with the sixth overall pick, Bolts from the Blue readers ranked Wills as the fourth-best option after Herbert, Isaiah Simmons, and Tristan Wirfs, an offensive tackle out of Iowa.

Los Angeles currently has Okung at left tackle, Sam Tevi at right tackle, and they selected tackle Trey Pipkins out of Sioux Falls in the third round with the 91st overall selection last year. There would not be much fighting over replacing Tevi on the right side, while Okung’s health was a major concern last year and he has one year and $14 million left on his current deal.

Do you have any preferences with the offensive linemen at the top of this draft?