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Chargers lack of versatility at tight end named biggest remaining need

The Chargers need a run-blocker at tight end but surprisingly did not grab one in this year’s draft.

AFC Wild Card Playoffs - Los Angeles Chargers v Jacksonville Jaguars Photo by Courtney Culbreath/Getty Images

The Chargers did what they could during the 2023 NFL draft to fill a number of holes within their roster. They added a new return man, a third wideout to complement Keenan Allen and Mike Williams, and reinforced their edge rusher group by selecting the nation’s sack leader in the second round.

Despite using all seven picks in the draft, the Chargers did not add a new body to their tight end group that currently holds several athletic pass-catchers but no true tail-whipper in the run game. It’s because of this that’s Marc Sessler believes the Chargers’ biggest remaining offseason need is to find another tight end that could help round out the skillsets in the room.

“It’s a roster absent of gaping holes,” says Sessler. “There’s no excuse for the Chargers to flatline in 2023, but a few tweaks can still be made. Gerald Everett is a quality pass-catching tight end, while 6-foot-8 Donald Parham has shown red-zone promise. As The Athletic’s Daniel Popper noted in his roster deep dive, though, Kellen Moore’s new offense lacks a bona-fide, run-blocking tight end. The Bolts bypassed the position in the draft, but general manager Tom Telesco did a strong job patching summertime holes a year ago. A TE mauler would add consistency to a ground game that came and went last fall.”

As it stands, the tight end room currently holds Everett, Parham, 2021 third-rounder Tre’ McKitty, and several undrafted free agents in Stone Smartt, Hunter Kampmoyer, and rookie Michael Ezeike. McKitty was drafted higher than many expected that year due to being the “last pro-ready tight end” on the board, according to Tom Telesco, but his first two season in the NFL have left a lot on the table as he’s struggled with both drops and penalties.

In the end, the Chargers never felt like grabbing a tight end was the right call whenever they were on the clock this year. With only the eldest of tight ends left on the market, could a 39-year old Marcedes Lewis — who is still more than capable as a run blocker — be just what the doctor ordered for the Chargers? I doubt that ends up being the case, but I’d take that flier every day if its means raising the floor of this run game in 2023.