2023 Draft Rankings/Discussion

Posting this to set the stage for draft discussion. For each Chargers draft pick, I plan to post the overall ranking and position ranking from several different draft grade/ranking sources, hoping to stimulate some interesting discussion.

I will post now and edit the post as we progress through the draft to add info for each pick.

Grade/Ranking Sources

I chose 11 sources that graded/ranked at least 300 draft prospects. These are the sources:

Label Source # Ranked
ATH Athletic Top 300 (Dane Brugler) 300
CBS CBS NFL Draft Prospect Rankings 443
DCDBB Draft Countdown Big Board (Brian Bosarge) 300
DCDSH Draft Countdown Big Board (Shane Hallam) 301
DN The Draft Network Big Board 426
DTEK Drafttek 600
MDDB NFL Mock Draft Database Consensus Big Board 557
NFL NFL (Lance Zeuerlein) 464
PFF PFF Big Board 406
PFN Pro Football Network 300
SIS Sports Info Solutions 400

I cannot necessarily vouch for the quality of any of these specific rankings, but I attempted to select sources that I would expect to have reasonably high quality grades/rankings.

I should note that NFL and SIS do not rank player from 1 to N. They provide grades. That means when getting into the day 3 picks in particular, there are large groups of players with the same grade. In those cases, I assumed the player was first in his group, giving him the best possible overall ranking. This can serve to effectively improve the overall ranking for some players, but should be a bit less of a factor in the position rankings.

I do not pay for ESPN premium content, so I am not able to include their grades/rankings. If anyone does have access, please feel free to post their grades/rankings in the comments.

Draft Pick 1.21 (21) - Quentin Johnston, WR, TCU

Johnston was the 21st player and 2nd WR drafted. Here are his rankings:

The Chargers selected Johnston right in line with his general rankings, so no reach here. However, I really don't like this pick.

First off, with Nolan Smith, Brian Branch, all TEs, and all WRs other than JSN available, I would have preferred to trade back. It is possible that wasn't an option, if no other teams wanted to trade up... but there was a lot of trading that went on.

Regardless, I would have taken Smith or Branch or Mayer before a WR here. The WR class is not very strong at the top, but it is deep. I would have targeted a WR in the 2nd or, more likely, the 3rd round.

@TDU_Alister posted in the comments that the Chargers wanted Smith-Njigba, but Seattle took him at 1.20, so the team debated between WRs Johnston, Flowers, and Addison and settled on Johnston, who was favored by OC Moore. That makes it seem like they had pre-determined that they were going to take a WR no matter who was available. If true, that is bad process IMO.

Johnston reportedly ran a 4.51 40 time at his pro day. For those fans who were clamoring for a speed WR, I don't think Johnston fits the bill. Then again, speed on the field is different than speed on the track, so maybe he will prove to be faster than his 40 time suggests.

He is now a Charger, so I will root for him.

Draft Pick 2.23 (54) - Tuli Tuipulotu, Edge, USC

Tuli was the 54th player and 11th Edge player drafted. Here are his rankings:

Again, this does not look like a reach and looks like incredible value if you believe in Lance Zierlein's (NFL) grades/rankings. LZ gave him a 6.38 grade, which is characterized as "will eventually be a plus starter." Here is LZ's overview for Tuli:

Defender possessing the rare blend of size, strength and athleticism to line up as an interior or edge defender in both 4-3 and 3-4 fronts. Tuipulotu plays with a go-go motor from the first snap to the last. His heavy-handed attack and ability to shed help compensate for a lack of length at the point of attack, while quick feet help him disrupt in gaps. He can play with a hand down or standing but needs to play with better discipline to eliminate voided fits. Tuipulotu is a power-based rusher with decent bend and flatten talent but he’s unlikely to win with his get-off alone. He should become a good starter.

That doesn't really sound as good as the grade looks... However, I liked this quote from Michael Peterson:

Tuipulotu’s size and versatility allow him to line up all across the defensive front which should open up a number of unique defensive packages for the Chargers defense to deploy in 2023. His hands are powerful and his lower-body strength is apparent in his ability to torque his hips and throw offensive lineman into the lap of the quarterback.

He doesn't turn 21 until September 3, so he probably has not yet reached his potential, which is great news given he was a 1st Team All American and PAC12 DPOY in 2022. This is a solid choice that fills one of the high priority needs.

Note, 4 of the sources (CBS, DCDBB, DCDSH, MDDB) identified Tuli as a DL rather than an Edge player. I used where he ranked among Edge players for all sources.

As it turns out, the Chargers could have drafted Nolan Smith or Myles Murphy in the 1st round and Marvin Mims in the 2nd. Which combo is better? Despite not liking the Johnston pick, I think this is a close call. I would prefer Smith and Mims, but it's close.

Draft Pick 3.22 (85) - Daiyan Henley, ILB, WSU

Henley was the 85th player and 5th ILB drafted. Here are his rankings: