The 2022 NFL Draft is nearly upon us, and the Los Angeles Chargers will have a difficult decision to make with the 17th overall pick. At least the 15-time AFC West champions can rest easy knowing they already have a franchise quarterback in Justin Herbert.
Although the Bolts narrowly missed the 2021 NFL Playoffs, the organization enters the upcoming season with an extremely talented roster. However, the Chargers would be wise to add at least one impactful offensive lineman in the draft, especially if they plan on keeping Herbert healthy and on his feet in the coming years.
So, who should the Chargers draft in the first round? As with our mock drafts, we picked players based on need and team fit. Also, all prospects are ranked alphabetically as opposed to preference or potential.
Based on consideration of the aforementioned prerequisites, we believe the Chargers should target the following players with the 17th overall pick.
Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah
How highly do I think of Lloyd? I believe the Utah standout could sneak into the top 10, especially after totaling 110 total stops, 22 tackles for a loss, eight sacks, six pass breakups, and four interceptions last season. But I also realize that’s probably unrealistic, which is why he’s theoretically here for the Chargers at No. 17.
Lloyd is always around the ball, and he has a bright professional future. NFL Media’s Lance Zierlein praised the 6-foot-3, 237-pound linebacker’s eyes, pass-rushing skills, and overall versatility in a pre-draft scouting report.
“He plays with the willful demeanor of an NFL alpha linebacker and is sneaky talented as a rusher either blitzing or aligning off the edge. Lloyd will make plenty of plays and should become a good starter as an inside or strong-side linebacker, but inconsistent process could limit his consistency.”Lance Zierlein
That’ll do for the Chargers. Yes, that’ll do.
Tyler Linderbaum, G/C, Iowa
Before I go any further, let me make it clear that I don’t consider myself anything close to a “draft expert.” I thought Herbert would be a bust, and I thought Johnny Manziel would silence the doubters and thrive in the NFL.
With all of that out of the way, I love Linderbaum. I think his aggressiveness and his physicality will allow him to become a fearsome starting interior offensive lineman in the NFL, even if his long-term future is at guard rather than center. The reigning Rimington Award (best center) winner thrives on pounding opposing defenders into the ground, and he’d be a welcome addition to the Chargers’ offense.
Honestly, Linderbaum would probably be my pick here, especially if Lloyd is already off the board.
Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas
Do the Chargers need another receiver? It never hurts to have more, although whether or not they should select one in the first round remains up for debate. Some will argue the Chargers should pursue a receiver if they take the Best Player Available approach, and I’m not opposed to such an argument.
Although the 6-foot-2, 225-pound Burks only ran a 4.55 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine, his size and versatility will almost certainly ensure he’s selected in the first round. I’d be skeptical about a team with an uncertain quarterback situation, such as the Houston Texans or Pittsburgh Steelers, drafting the former Arkansas standout here. However, the Chargers do have Herbert, and I trust his judgment and skillset. If the 2021 Pro Bowl selection wants Burks, something tells me he’ll get Burks.
Trevor Penning, OT, Northern Iowa
If Linderbaum is off the board, I can live with the Chargers slightly reaching and picking Penning. The Northern Iowa standout impressed at the Senior Bowl and appears likely to be selected between picks No. 11 through 20, so he could still be in play when the Bolts make their first-round selection.
The 6-foot-7, 325-pound Penning bullied opposing pass-rushers as a three-year starting left tackle. Although some teams might understandably be concerned about his impending transition from FCS football to the NFL, I think he’d be a good fit in Los Angeles.
Then again, what do I know? I thought Geno Smith would be the New York Jets’ savior at quarterback.