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Chargers draft Texas DT with 5th-overall pick in new 2024 mock draft

The Chargers choose to pass on an elite playmaker on offense to instead go with an athletic defensive tackle at No. 5.

NCAA Football: Texas at Iowa State Aaron E. Martinez-USA TODAY Sports

Following the completed hirings of both head coach Jim Harbaugh and general manager Joe Hortiz, Charger fans can now begin to dive deeper into their two new leaders when it comes to roster building and their accompanying philosophies. We have a lengthy history for both Harbaugh and Hortiz to know that both come from teams that love to dominate the trenches and play bull ball.

With this in mind, CBS Sports’ Chris Trapasso gave the Chargers a new name at No. 5 in his latest first-round mock draft. Instead of taking a top playmaker on offense, Trapasso has the Chargers upgrading the defensive line by taking Texas defensive tackle Byron Murphy II with their first-round selection.

Here’s the quick blurb from Trapasso on the pick:

“New GM Joe Hortiz identifies the interior of the Chargers defensive line one of the team’s most glaring weaknesses, and Murphy is an uber-athletic and powerful penetrator.”

I have to be honest here. I think the fan base would actually riot in the streets if this was the pick over someone like wideout Malik Nabers or tight end Brock Bowers, both of whom were available at No. 5. While the defensive line will need reinforcements, you simply are not taking a defensive tackle in the top-5 unless he’s being deemed the second coming of Aaron Donald. And Murphy is not that.

Sure, he was a Second-Team All-American by the Associated Press and played on a team that made the College Football Playoff, but 8.5 tackles for loss and five sacks isn’t going to cut it. If Donald went 13th overall after racking up 28.5(!) tackles for loss and 11(!) sacks as a senior, Murphy isn’t going that high to any team unless it’s their far-and-away number one need.

At the end of the day, you draft a good player because he’s a good player and you believe he’s going to make a difference on your team for years to come. But for me, Murphy has just 16 starts to his name and did not become a full-time starter until the 2023 season. His combination of production and experience outweigh the potential of his athletic testing, which is expected to be elite next month at the combine.