The fine folks over at Pro Football Focus recently dropped a new three-round mock draft and I’ve got to say, this one is a bit different.
The Chargers are not so set on either side of the ball that it’s hard to see them lean heavily in one direction early on in this year’s draft, but that’s exactly what PFF had them do in this mock. All three selections by the Bolts fall on the offensive side of the ball with the Chargers taking a tight end, wide receiver, and running back in the first, second, and third rounds, respectively.
Curious to see who they came away with? Let’s go ahead and dive in.
21.) TE Dalton Kincaid, Utah
What PFF had to say:
“Kincaid boasts the best ball skills in the draft class, making him perfect for a quarterback like Justin Herbert who trusts his receivers in contested situations.”
The Chargers kicked off this mock by grabbing what they hope to be their next long-term starting tight end in Utah’s Kincaid.
The 6’4, 246-pound Kincaid was a First-Team All-Pac 12 selection and Third-Team AP All-American in 2022 after posting 70 catches fro 890 yards and eight touchdowns. Unfortunately an injury forced him to miss one game and then he proceeded to opt-out of the Rose Bowl, as well. As of now, Kincaid has yet to workout for scouts due to the same injury and it’s unknown whether he’ll do so before the draft arrives.
While that will cause some justifiable concerns among team’s, there’s no denying he’ll be an absolute weapon at the next level. Charger fans love to root for a great tight end (i.e., Antonio Gates, Kellen Winslow, Hunter Henry, etc.) and this gives them a player from the West Coast where they can do just that.
54.) WR Josh Downs, North Carolina
What PFF had to say:
“The AFC is officially an arms race, with the Chargers giving quarterback Justin Herbert two shiny new toys. Downs has a slot skill set missing from the Chargers’ receiving room.”
One of the best receivers in this draft not being talked about, Downs is a winner at every level of the field who plays with elite fluidity and toughness. It’s no surprise at his size (5’9, 171) that he’s an elite athlete with a 4.48 40 time, a 38.5” vertical, and a 10’11 broad.
Over the past two seasons, Downs has accumulated 2,364 yards and 19 touchdowns. In his final season at Chapel Hill, Downs was both a First-Team All-ACC selection at wideout and a third-team selection as an all-purpose player (averaged 13.3 yards per punt return).
If the Chargers pass on receiver in the first round, Downs should be their top target in the second.
In case you need more proof that Josh Downs is very good at football— Jeremy (@PopesFFH) March 10, 2023
See Exhibit A⤵️: pic.twitter.com/J4dpWlH4mu
85.) RB Zach Charbonnet, UCLA
Regardless of whether or not Austin Ekeler plays for the Chargers in 2023, Charbonnet in the third would be a heck of a value.
After starring at Michigan as a freshman, Charbonnet saw his snap count fall of a cliff in 2020 which sent him straight to the transfer portal before ending up with Chip Kelly at UCLA. In two seasons with the Bruins, Charbonnet rushed for 2,496 yards and 27 touchdowns while also adding some value in the passing game (over 500 receiving yards in that span).
Should Ekeler stay, then Charbonnet becomes the best complement in the backfield to spell the team’s versatile RB1. His size (6’0, 214) resembles that of 2020 fourth-round pick Isaiah Spiller, but Charbonnet’s athletic testing across the board immediately makes him the more-favorable player to see the field. His 4.53 in the 40 is just fine when combined with his notable running power.