ESPN’s Senior NFL Draft analyst Mel Kiper finally graced us all with his first official mock for the 2021 NFL Draft. As one of the godfathers of the entire draft community, it’s always intriguing to finally get his thoughts and opinions on the newest class of prospects, regardless if he ends up being all that correct at the end of draft season.
In his first mock, Kiper has the Chargers going offensive tackle in the first round which is, in my opinion, the correct move. Tom Telesco hasn’t touched an offensive lineman in the first round since his first year as general manager of the team and I think the result of him picking D.J. Fluker scared him from ever doing that again.
But Kiper thinks the Bolts can get a good one in Virginia Tech left tackle Christian Darrisaw.
“With four straight wins to end the season, the Chargers likely moved themselves out of the Penei Sewell sweepstakes, but Darrisaw is a great consolation prize,” says Kiper. “He had a phenomenal 2020 season and could be quarterback Justin Herbert’s long-term blindside protector. Offensive line is one of L.A.’s top needs of the offseason, and it could add to the position in both free agency and the draft. New coach Brandon Staley will get back safety Derwin James from injury, but his defensive line needs a boost, too. Keep an eye on risers between now and April.”
Darrisaw is a prototypical tackle in the NFL with adequate size at 6’5 and 314 pounds. He possesses the type of athleticism that Telesco prefers in his offensive lineman while also checking the box for a “finisher’s mentality” that I believe is so important for an NFL lineman to have. It’s the mindset that makes you want to drive your opponent into the dirt on each and every play in order to slowly demoralize him as the game goes on.
I think this pick would be outstanding for the Chargers and I’d certainly have no qualms otherwise. If you would like to read a little bit more on Darrisaw, I wrote a short draft profile on him a few months ago that you can read here.
As always, tell us if you like the pick or if you’d rather see the Chargers look elsewhere in the first round.