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Chargers Scouting Report: LSU WR Malik Nabers

The Chargers could land a blue chip player in this year’s draft and LSU’s Malik Nabers could be the next weapon for Justin Herbert to throw to.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 25 Texas A&M at LSU Photo by John Korduner/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

As it stands, the Chargers look as if they’re surely lose their remaining three games this season and finish with an abysmal 5-12 record. That obviously sucks for a number of reasons, but when it comes to this year’s draft position, it’s phenomenal news. This is only emphasized by the fact that the franchise is also looking for a new general manager and head coach. A top-five draft pick is some easy bait to land a top candidate at either position and when you look at the top of this year’s draft, the Chargers will be thankful they suffered through the month of December in the name of landing a blue-chip prospect.

With all that in mind, it’s time to start looking at some of those players. First up, let’s take a look at one of the top wideouts in the country in LSU’s Malik Nabers.

Yes, the Chargers did just draft a receiver in the first round earlier this year, but we’ve all seen how that’s been going. Knowing that Justin Herbert’s prime years could be in danger of being wasted, I could easily see the Chargers investing their top picks on that side of the ball once again.

One of the first options I’ll offer up in this year’s draft should the franchise truly lean in on the “support Herbert” plan is LSU wide receiver Malik Nabers, arguably the other top player at his position in the class next to Marvin Harrison Jr.

Example A:

A potential trio of Keenan Allen, Joshua Palmer, and Quentin Johnston would be far from the worst trio in the NFL, but I can’t but feel like going into 2024 with that group is too much “business as usual” for the Chargers who are desperately in need of a shakeup at numerous spots around the roster. Herbert needs more dynamic play and while Johnston was drafted to be that guy, it took until Week 14 to show any sort of flash (57-yard reception vs. Broncos).

Nabers looks like an immediate impact player who wouldn’t spend time behind anyone to begin his career.

  • School: LSU
  • Height: 6’0
  • Weight: 200
  • 2023 stats: 86 receptions, 1,546 receiving yards, 14 receiving touchdowns
  • Career stats: 186 receptions, 2,983 receiving yards, 21 receiving touchdowns
  • Accolades: Fred Biletnikoff Award finalist (2023), First-Team All-SEC (2023), 2023 Citrus Bowl MVP, All-SEC Freshman Team (2021)

Strengths

As the video showed above, this guy can flat out fly. It’s almost as if someone edited the video to speed up just Nabers simply due to how fast he separates from the defenders around him. Most of his touchdowns come from the same routes, those being fades near the end zone and a unique shot play where Nabers runs a post-and-go from the slot. The threat of his speed gets safeties to bite on his first move which easily opens the door for him to run right by them as they stutter.

Before looking up Nabers’ actual height and weight, I would have easily guessed he was bigger than his listed 6’0 and 200 pounds with the way he fights through contact and dominates defenders at the catch point.

On screens, Nabers takes a clear picture of how his blocks should unfold and he wastes little time sticking his foot in the ground and getting north.

Nabers shows a great feel for the sideline, especially when he makes difficult, body-contorting catches in the end zone. There are some catches that look like he shouldn’t be able to get a foot down, but he always finds a way to drop one down.

Weakness

After watching the film, Nabers didn’t show the most extensive route tree throughout but that doesn’t necessarily mean he can’t. In fact, when you win so strongly on a handful of routes, of course the team will continue to send you out there to do it again over and over. That doesn’t necessarily scare me in the same manner that it did with Quentin Johnston.

Round Prediction: Top-10 Pick

Nabers could push for the best wideout in this class for some scouts but I think the majority of analysts would say he’s squarely behind Marvin Harrison Jr. as the class’ #2 wideout. That’s not a bad thing at all. With Harrison expected to be a top-three pick, Nabers could easily fall to the Chargers who should pick anywhere between fifth and seventh.