We are about 48 hours away from the 2023 NFL draft now so to continue on with the mock drafts I wanted to do a draft that kind of mixes what I would do if I was GM, and what I think the Chargers could do. Tomorrow, my final mock draft will be my “prediction” on what I think could happen.
So, here we go!
Round 1 - Zay Flowers - WR - Boston College
The Chargers have said multiple times that they want to add pass catchers in this draft and Zay Flowers is one of the favorites of many in the draft community, including myself. I feel like he brings something to the Chargers WR room that they don’t currently have and would really elevate this offense. He is smaller than the Chargers typically like at WR, but he’s also worth coming off thresholds because of his talent.
Zay Flowers in my opinion will be the first WR off the board. He’s a tenacious player who has the electricity as a playmaker and physicality all over the field. pic.twitter.com/JG0qfsXGmj— JAKE ELLENBOGEN (@JKBOGEN) April 25, 2023
Round 2 - DJ Turner - CB - Michigan
Brandon Staley has been quoted saying you can never have enough good corners. Staley and Tom Telesco have both repeatedly stressed the need for speed at all positions. Well, DJ Turner checks those boxes. He has been getting fringe first round buzz because of his play and the fact that he posted an unbelievable 4.26 40 yard dash. There were a couple other places I could have gone here but the drop off for corner is massive and adding a talented corner from a big school with that kind of speed was just too much to pass up on.
There’s fast, and then there’s DJ Turner fast. He clocked the fastest 40 at this year’s Combine at 4.26s and he plays with that speed on the field. He’ll immediately become one of the fastest players in the NFL at a position where that might matter most. pic.twitter.com/Uh6Jq00P7M— PJ Moran (@PJonDraft) April 24, 2023
Round 3 - Luke Schoonmaker - TE - Michigan
The Chargers double dip on Michigan players on day 2 adding Schoonmaker in the 3rd. He was underutilized in the Michigan offense as a pass catcher but he is a stud athlete at the position, and has all the tools to be a good all-around TE in the NFL. He is a bit of an older prospect and he wont be a game changer at the position, but he can easily be TE2 from day 1 on the Chargers roster.
Round 4 - Israel Abanikanda - RB - Pitt
The one thing the Chargers are really missing in the RB room is game breaking speed. That is Abanikanda. Not only does he have afterburners to run away from a defense, but he has that speed without being tiny, coming in at 5’10 and 216 pounds. If you want to check out what I mean when I say “game breaking speed” just check out Pitt vs Virginia Tech from 2022 when Abanikanda rushed 36 times for 320 yards and six touchdowns. He’s also only 20 years old and has time to add more strength to start improving his contact balance. Oh, he also has the added bonus of having kick return experience.
Israel Abanikanda is listed at 5'11" and 215 lbs and he's THIS fast?!?— Goodberry (@JoeGoodberry) February 27, 2023
He's also only 20 years old and his production profile puts him in the 88th percentile! pic.twitter.com/Ti8leJuwtF
Round 5 - John Gaines II - OG - UCLA
John Gaines is the kind of player you take a swing on on day three and feels like the kind of player Telesco would target. He has great size for an interior offensive lineman at 6’4 and 303 pounds with a frame that he could add more bulk too if needed. He also has 33.6” arms and hands that are over 10”. He has started games at every position on the offensive line other than LT in college. And possibly the most “bet worthy” trait is that he ran a 4.45 short shuttle. To explain why, take a look at this piece from Josh Norris on the biggest “cheat code” metric in the draft:
Since 2010, just 28 Offensive Linemen recorded a 4.47 short shuttle or better at the NFL Combine— Josh Norris (@JoshNorris) February 27, 2023
24 were drafted
Those 24 went on to start 84% of their NFL games. It's a cheat code.
Let's 'Moneyball' the NFL Combinehttps://t.co/18vOIzmWlV pic.twitter.com/BPmFhPzjhe
Round 6 - Jose Ramirez - EDGE - Eastern Michigan
Jose Ramirez feels like that typical Telesco swing on a smaller, midwest school prospect with really good production and some traits. Over the last two seasons he has 128 tackles, 30.5 tackles for loss, and 18.5 sacks. He is a bit undersized at 6’1 and change and 242 pounds, but he has great speed scores on his RAS and elite agility scores. Daniel Jeremiah also has Ramirez as his 103rd ranked player so getting him at pick 200 is great value.
Daniel Jeremiah of the NFL Network has Jose Ramirez and Sidy Sow ranked side by side in his top 150 for the NFL Draft at 103rd and 104th respectively. pic.twitter.com/lyFDqtZktU— Vannzee (@thevannzee) April 24, 2023
Round 7 - Anfernee Orji - LB - Vanderbilt
The Chargers need to add another body or two to the LB room and Orji is a great candidate for that late on day three. He has production based on his 198 tackles, 19.5 tackles for loss, and two sacks over the last two years. He is a converted safety which the team likes out of their LBs and he was a team captain as a senior. Orji also has the athleticism to contribute on special teams early, which he will need to make the roster.