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Mel Kiper gives Justin Herbert new weapons in latest two-round mock

Could an unheralded tight end make a difference for the Chargers?

Central Michigan v Penn State Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

ESPN senior NFL draft analyst Mel Kiper just dropped his latest two-round mock draft and there’s a new name being paired with the Chargers that you may not have seen just yet.

To kick things off, Kiper is in the camp that believes the Chargers will likely take a wide receiver in the first round. This time, the Bolts are once again paired with local product Jordan Addison out of USC.

Addison won the Fred Biletnikoff Award in 2021 as a member of the Pitt Panthers before transferring to USC prior to the 2022 season. He missed several games due to injury, but still put up a respectable stat line of 59 catches for 875 yards and right touchdowns.

Here’s what Kiper had to say about the selection:

“Addison could be a nice complement to L.A.’s offense. He is a great route runner who knows how to get open, though he’s not quite as explosive as Zay Flowers. He had 100 catches for 1,592 yards and 17 touchdowns at Pitt in 2021 before an injury at USC last season forced him to miss some time. If he lands with the Chargers, he could be one of the favorites for Offensive Rookie of the Year, because new offensive coordinator Kellen Moore will get creative and use him all over the field.”

After giving Justin Herbert a new wide receiver to grow with, Kiper double-dips amongst the pass catchers to hand Herbert a new tight end to look for in Penn State’s Brenton Strange.

“I gave the Chargers wideout Jordan Addison in Round 1, but they shouldn’t stop acquiring playmakers around quarterback Justin Herbert. Strange could help the entire offense, because he took a step forward as a blocker in 2022. As a pass-catcher, he wasn’t used as a seam-stretcher in college, but he has some upside. L.A. also could look to the defensive tackles in Round 2.”

The 6’4, 253-pound Strange is built well and passes the eye test. He’s muscular, well-proportioned, and has shown more than enough willingness to play just about everywhere across the formation.

While not used as a dynamic receiving threat for the Nittany Lions, Strange managed to show in spurts that he’s a capable receiver with enough juice to earn some yards after the catch. He’s coming off his best year yet in 2022 where he caught a career-high five touchdowns in 13 starts en route to being named Third-Team All-Big Ten selection.

Despite the the lack of production, check out this highlight below that shows you Strange’s potential as a physical pass-catcher with the brains to understand the situation all at the same time:

I wouldn’t mind the selection of Strange, but I don’t think he’s worth a second-round pick unless there’s just a massive disconnect between his hype heading into the draft between the media and NFL circles.

Either way, he’s an intriguing prospect that’s simply another namer to keep an eye on heading into the draft for a position the Chargers are still trying to find a long-term answer at.