Happy Friday, everyone, and welcome to my first mock draft of any kind thus far in the offseason. For this exercise, I used the mock draft simulator over at TheDraftNetwork.com which I have found to extremely convenient and that’s not just a shameless plug because I like the guys over. It’s a great product and you all should be giving it a go over the next two months.
With this mock, I tried to maximize value while also attempting to cover the team’s biggest needs. I also did this mock without taking consideration free agents that the team might sign. I didn’t want to assume they would make this or that move, so this mock is simply what I’d do if they weren’t going to sign anyone at all once the signing period begins.
Below you’ll picks, along with my thoughts on each player. Enjoy!
Round 1, Pick 13: OT Rashawn Slater, Northwestern
Outside of Oregon’s Penei Sewell, Slater being available for the Chargers at No. 13 is probably the best case scenario on day one of this year’s draft. Slater is a legitimate five-position player along the offensive line and that elite versatility will come in huge whenever the inevitable injury bug bites the Bolts in their a**.
Offensive guard Elgton Jenkins, a recent draft pick of the Packers, has been a fast riser among young NFL lineman due to this same versatility. He played just about every position at one point or another for Green Bay in 2020 thanks in part to a slew of injuries up front and he did it all with superb play.
This is the type of player Slater can be for the Chargers should they continue to see the usual amount of ailments hit the position in 2021.
Slater is truly a “complete package”-type of player. His movements skills are only rivaled by that of Sewell and he’s probably the most consistent lineman in this class on a down-by-down basis. He takes zero plays off and his desire to win every rep is apparent on film. Strong hands, high awareness, etc. It’s all there and more.
Rashawn Slater pass-blocking in 2019:— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) January 22, 2021
5 QB pressures
0 sacks allowed pic.twitter.com/a3UG0nBwPk
Round 2, Pick 47: WR Rondale Moore, Purdue
In the report I wrote earlier today about the Bolts recently meeting with Moore, I discussed how the opportunity to select Moore at the top of the second would be a tough selection to pass up. Well, in the very first mock of the season, Moore was the best player on the board still available when the Chargers were back on the clock to begin day two. I looked at the available cornerbacks, offensive lineman, and edge rushers, and I just couldn’t justify any players on the board over Moore and what he could bring to this team’s offense.
I know it seems like every fast and dynamic player in the latest draft class gets compared to Tyreek Hill, but Moore is probably the closest comparison we have at the moment. They’re roughly the same height and weight, and they both offer a unique blend of strength, speed, and explosiveness.
As a true freshman in 2018, Moore hauled in 114 passes for 1,258 yards and 12 touchdowns. He also carried the ball 21 times for another 213 yards and two scores. In the seven total games he managed to play in across the 2019 and 2020 seasons, he accumulated 64 receptions, 657 yards, and four total touchdowns. On a per game basis, he was averaging over nine catches and for almost 100 yards.
Just pop on the film of his game against Ohio State in ‘18 and prepare to be disgusted.
Rondale Moore, WR, #Purdue-— Ryder McConville (@RyderM25) February 26, 2021
+ Electrifying play maker
+ Play strength/contact balance
+ Altering pad level/stride
+ Pace variation
+ Competitive toughness
+ Field vision
+ Sudden releases
+ Good eyes through route stem
+ Swiss army knife#NFLDraft2021 pic.twitter.com/1UtI3l10Zo
Round 3, Pick 77: DE Quincy Roche, Miami
Roche would be a heck of a pickup in the third round should be be available. At 6’3 and 245 pounds, he’s a prototypical fit for an outside linebacker in Brandon Staley’s system who can play the run and rush the passer with equal efficiency.
During his three years at Temple, Roche racked up a notable amount of sacks and tackles-for-loss. In his final season alone, he recorded a staggering 19 stops behind the line and 13 sacks. In his lone year with the Hurricanes in 2020 (10 games), Roche recorded just 4.5 sacks but still managed 14.5 tackle-for-loss, showing you just how disruptive he can be apart from getting after the quarterback.
Roche got a rare invite to this year’s Reese’s Senior Bowl where he was able to compete against the top senior competition in the country. He exhibited a notable toolbox as a pass rusher, showing off some real skill at flattening to the quarterback once he’s beaten the man in front of him.
If the Chargers don’t make a move for Leonard Floyd in free agency, I’d love to see them target Roche with one of their picks in the third if he’s there.
#Patriots draft target: Temple/Miami EDGE Quincy Roche. Just a handful to block because of his hand technique and flexibility. He's slippery and tough to square up for OTs.— Evan Lazar (@ezlazar) February 24, 2021
Plus, a full arsenal of pass rush moves. Swipes, swims, stabs, ghost technique. Love his game. pic.twitter.com/ksc355bMfd
Round 3, Pick 97: OG Aaron Banks, Notre Dame
The selection of Banks here satisfies several necessities for the Chargers in this year’s draft.
First, the Bolts should probably double-dip along the offensive line and this way they get two excellent players who can move around up front. Second, it checks the box for the one Notre Dame player that the Chargers pick each year in the draft, or so it seems that way as of late.
It’s not often an AP First-Team All-American is available in the third round, but that might just be the case with Banks who is being overshadowed by some of the bigger names in this year’s class. At a hair under 6’6 and 330 pounds, Banks’ size is monstrous for either a guard or a tackle.
With 31 total starts to his name, the experience is there. Add that on top of the fact he was a participant in this year’s Senior Bowl and I wouldn’t blame the Chargers for already writing his name down on a draft card. At his size, Banks shows some eye-popping movement skills, especially when accelerating to the second level of a defense in a zone blocking scheme. He understands his angles and knows how to cut off the backside linebacker to ensure a nice hole for the ball-carrier. In the video below, just look how fast gets to the defender when given a free lane to run. That’s incredible.