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2024 Mock Draft: Chargers select Texas TE Ja’Tavion Sanders

Sanders was a semifinalist for the John Mackey Award in 2022.

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Texas v Kansas State Photo by Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images

It’s never too early to look ahead. Seriously.

The 2023 NFL Draft just ended roughly 48 hours ago and here I am writing up the Chargers’ draft pick from a way-too-early 2024 mock. Draft people are sick, and I’m one of them.

Oh well! Here we go!

The folks at Pro Football Focus were one of the first to throw out a way-too-early mock draft and they’ve got the Chargers heading into next year’s draft with the 18th pick, meaning they forecast them to just miss out on the playoffs.

With the 18th pick. PFF has the Chargers drafting Texas tight end Ja’Tavion Sanders as the first at his position off the board. After failing to draft a tight end in 2023, it’s highly likely one will be near the top of their draft board in 2024.

Sander was a true sophomore this past season and finished the year as a semifinalist for the John Mackey Award. Here’s what PFF had to say about the selection:

“Even after selecting Quentin Johnston, the Chargers could stand to add some pass-catchers,” said author Max Chadwick. “Sanders is a freak athlete at 6-foot-4, 242 pounds, and his 32 combined receiving first downs/touchdowns in 2022 trailed only Dalton Kincaid, Michael Mayer and Brock Bowers among Power Five tight ends.”

Those three names are excellent company to be with and Sanders is only expected to get better with another year under his belt. After playing on special teams only as a freshman, Sanders broke out with 613 yards and five touchdowns on 54 receptions en route to earning First-Team All-Big 12 honors.

Sanders was asked to do just about everything for the Longhorns as he lined up at every position possible, including in the back field and out wide. He was often used as a motion man, as well, before becoming a lead blocker on split zone runs or the recipient of a screen pass.

He’s certainly a name to keep an eye on going forward, but there’s still a lot between now and next year’s draft.