We’re finally in the month of April which means the 2022 NFL draft is just a handful of weeks away. The Chargers have put a ton of resources into reinforcing the weak parts of their roster in free agency and the draft is the next big checkpoint of the offseason in which they can take another huge step forward towards a big year on the field.
Today, I think it’s high time I got into the mock draft game. With the Bolts having nine picks in the draft, they’ve got plenty of chances to try and land some impact players. Below, you’ll see the summary of a mock I did over at The Draft Network. Again, with nine picks, there’s a lot I could talk about but I don’t want to turn these things into a novel for all of your sakes. To keep things short and sweet, I’ll give my quick thoughts on each pick and try to provide adequate context for each selection.
Sound good? Alright, let’s get to it.
First Round, Pick - #17 DT Devonte Wyatt, Georgia
Wyatt’s teammate Jordan Davis was already taken, along with all the top offensive tackles. Alabama’s Jameson Williams was the only other player I was able to consider here but Wyatt ended up being the guy as I simply couldn’t tolerate another year of porous run defense. I don’t want the Chargers to have any more excuses. This pick solidifies the top three players along the interior with Wyatt, Sebastian Joseph-Day, and Austin Johnson. Christian Covington and/or Jerry Tillery should not be starters and this pick makes sure that doesn’t happen.
Devonte Wyatt's (95) lateral agility/movement skills at over 300-pounds are crazy pic.twitter.com/0Qmsnwbs1x— Nick Falato (@nickfalato) April 4, 2022
Third Round, Pick #79 - OT Rasheed Walker, Penn State
As it stands, the Chargers need a right tackle. They could also use a right guard, as well, but anyone who saw Storm Norton get his tailed whipped on repeat against the Raiders in week 18 knows which one matters more.
Minnesota’s Daniel Faalele was available in the first taking him there would have been a major reach. After the team traded away their second-round pick in the deal for Khalil Mack, waiting until the third round was my only option. Unfortunately, I was left with two players of equal talent that both aren’t likely starting from day one. I ended up going to Walker over North Dakota State’s Cordell Volson.
Both players stand with similar measureables at 6’6 and 315 pounds. In the end, I went with the guy who has started the past three seasons for one of college football’s blue bloods.
Fourth Round, Pick #123 - RB Brian Robinson Jr., Alabama
The Chargers need to solidify the spot behind Austin Ekeler in the backfield so why not fill it with a complementary back that can give the offense a little extra “oomph” between the tackles? At 6’2 and 225 pounds, Robinson would offer the type of size and power not seen on the Chargers in some time.
Robinson rushed for 1,343 yards and 14 touchdowns in 2021 as a first-time starter. He also caught 35 passes for 296 yards and another pair of scores en route to earning First-Team All-SEC honors. He also handled 11 kickoffs which speaks to his unique versatility for a man of his stature.
Fifth Round, Pick #160 - OG Lecitus Smith, Virginia Tech
This pick is one that doesn’t sit all that well with me.
Since the Chargers have yet to re-sign Oday Aboushi, the plan at right guard still seems quite murky. Smith was the top guard left on the board and I didn’t really want to wait ay longer to grab someone who may be in the running to see some playing time in his first year.
Lance Zierlein calls him an “athletic” guard that started three seasons for the Hokies. He’s built like a traditional guard at 6’3 and 313 pounds but lacks a bit of length as his arms measured just 31 7/8 inches. Zierlein also notes that, while he struggles to find consistency as a run-blocker, he’s surprisingly talent as a pass-protector. He wins with even composure and notable flexibility that allows him to mirror and stay in front of his assignment.
Sixth Round, Pick #195 - WR Tyquan Thornton, Baylor
Here’s that speed the Chargers need so desperately on offense.
Thornton ran the forty in 4.28 seconds at this year’s draft. It was the fastest time by any offensive player and likely bumped him up on draft boards around the league. Taking him on day three is likely the best-case scenario as he’s a limited route-runner who wasn’t asked to do a ton in Baylor’s “go, go, go”-style of offense.
At 6’2 and a slim 181 pounds, it’ll also be tough for Thornton to ever receive a sizable workload, so I believe his ceiling is quite limited but being able to take the top off a defense will always give you some extra value to an offense.
In 14 starts this past season, he caught 62 passes for 948 yards and 10 touchdowns en route to earning Second-Team All-Big 12 honors.
Tyquan Thornton absolutely plays to his timed speed y’all. He could absolutely become an X in the league. I think his best football is in front of him. pic.twitter.com/x6nZddDZlI— Brandon Howard (@bhoward_81) March 13, 2022
Sixth Round, Pick #214 - LB Joshua Ross, Michigan
I’m not going to lie, I made this pick and then immediately remembered the abysmal performance he put together at this year’s combine.
At 6’0 and 227 pounds, Ross is already undersized which means he really needed to show off some notable athleticism in front of scouts this offseason. Unfortunately, he turned in a 4.79 in the forty and 31 inches in the vertical. As of now, I actually think Ross is closer to being a priority free agent pickup than an actual worthy draft pick.
While I admit he’s a better football player than his testing suggests, the chances of him becoming a serviceable player in the NFL are looking awfully slim as of now.
Seventh Round, Pick #236 - CB Matt Hankins, Iowa
Hankins is a bit on the slim side (6’1, 180) for an NFL cornerback but he’s coming into the league with a great pedigree after playing for an Iowa secondary that has led the nation in interceptions since the 2017 season. The Iowa defense was ELITE in 2021 and he rightfully played a role in making that happen.
He picked off three passes and defended another eight in his final season where he saw 10 starts. He did miss a couple outings and that’s something NFL teams will have to take note of in regards to his slight frame. He’s got great feet and his fundamentals are about as sound as it they come. However, Hankins was not invited to the NFL combine and Iowa has yet to host their pro day, so we’ll have to wait and see on his athletic testing numbers.
Overall, finding a player with 36 career starts at such an important position is quite the value here on day three.
Matt Hankins : 5 tackles & the Hawks INT with 2:13 left pic.twitter.com/S1QiNs1UFb— Lee Harvey (@AyeThatsLee) October 10, 2021
Seventh Round, Pick #254 - CB Jalyn Armour-Davis, Alabama
Here’s a prospect that I would be shocked to see fall all the way to the seventh round. First, he played for the Crimson Tide. Second, he performed very well at Alabama’s pro day in March.
At 6’0 and 197 pounds, Armour-Davis recorded a 4.39 in the forty but did not test anything else other than the vertical (34.5 inches). However, he received plenty of praise from his on-field work and is now being considered one of the top “project” cornerbacks in the entire class.
This would be an immense value on day three, but I truly don’t think he makes it this far into the final day.
Jalyn Armour-Davis is a CB prospect in the 2022 draft class. He scored a 9.42 RAS out of a possible 10.00. This ranked 113 out of 1923 CB from 1987 to 2022. https://t.co/AJv4ICpTQx #RAS pic.twitter.com/l88I92SNsX— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) April 1, 2022
More love for another @AlabamaFTBL prospect, this time on CB Jalyn Armour-Davis -- from the same scout: “He’s definitely talented. Tons of upside because of his size and athleticism -- plus he hasn’t played a ton. We like him because he can run and tackle from day one.” #nfldraft— Jordan Schultz (@Schultz_Report) April 2, 2022
Seventh Round, Pick #255 - TE Chase Allen, Iowa State
This is likely one of the least-likely picks in this mock draft as I believe Allen will go much earlier on day three. He was essentially the secondary tight end in the Cyclones’ offense but his combination of size (6’6, 251) and blocking prowess should earn him a selection earlier than his college resume would suggest.
If he’s still somehow on the board when the Chargers select anywhere in the sixth or seventh round, he’d be one of the best value picks on day three.