The 2022 NFL Draft came to pass between April 28 to April 30. With the Draft, 262 college players came to see their lifelong dreams come true to play in the NFL.
The Los Angeles Chargers finished the Draft with 8 total draft picks, six of them coming on Day 3 (Rounds 4-7). While some may view the Day 3 picks as being mere special teams or practice squad additions, there are some hidden gems that can be found in those later rounds. These are the Chargers’ best draft picks.
Round 1, Pick 17: Zion Johnson, G, Boston College
With the 17th pick in the NFL Draft, the Chargers picked Zion Johnson, an offensive guard from Boston College. Some critics view the Zion Johnson pick as being a bit of a reach, given that he likely would have been available later in the first round. On top of that, the Chargers missed out on drafting a potential stud edge rusher in Jermaine Johnson from Florida State, who was surprisingly still available at 17.
Even so, the Zion pick made a lot of sense for the Chargers. Most importantly, he addresses an immediate need for the team. Since the Chargers worked to improve their defensive line in free agency, the Chargers’ biggest draft need was offensive line. The left side of their line was elite, with rookie tackle Rashawn Slater being selected to the Pro Bowl and guard Matt Feiler proving his worth as well. However, after injuries to Oday Aboushi and Bryan Bulaga, the right side of the line struggled immensely. The Chargers, forced to give reps to Storm Norton and Trey Pipkins, left the right side of their line porous. This caused Herbert to face too much pressure on the right side.
Adding Zion Johnson makes a lot more sense with that in mind. Zion is an instant plug-n-play guard, with the versatility to cover tackle duties if needed. With an additional pick that will be talked about later, the Zion pick was the smart choice.
Round 4, Pick 123: Isaiah Spiller, RB, Texas A&M
With the 123rd pick in the NFL Draft, the Chargers selected Isaiah Spiller, a running back from Texas A&M. Spiller was one of the three highly-tauted running back prospects in this draft. A two-time All-SEC selection, Spiller looks to fit right into the depth chart, right behind star running back Austin Ekeler.
While he may not be an instant starter like Zion Johnson, Spiller has the skill to serve as a great backup for Ekeler. His skillset is actually somewhat reminiscent of Ekeler, so having both in the backfield could prove to be a dangerous duo for opposing defenses. Spiller could also learn a lot from Ekeler, and he could break out to be a future star.
Round 6, Pick 195: Jamaree Salyer, G/T, Georgia
With the 195th pick in the NFL Draft, the Chargers selected Jamaree Salyer, a guard from the University of Georgia. While he may be listed as a guard, Salyer is much more than that. Salyer had experience starting at guard, tackle, and even at center if need be. That kind of blocking versatility is not easy to come by, particularly out of the SEC.
What makes this such an interesting pick is the sheer value of it. Salyer was not expected by anyone to be available so late into the draft. Many expected Salyer to be off the board as early as the third round, and as late as the fourth. However, the Chargers were able to grab him halfway through the sixth round. If that isn’t a value pick, then what is?
Overall, the Chargers had a very beneficial draft. It was not a particularly flashy 2022 Draft for the Chargers, particularly when compared to other teams. And with several recent drafts being filled with high-profile stars for the Chargers, this year’s draft feels tamer. However, what the Chargers did instead was address what the front office deemed to be the most pressing needs. Only time will tell whether the team’s picks will pan out, but general manager Tom Telesco seems ready to push for a deep playoff run with this squad.
A rookie profile will come out on each of the Chargers picks at a later time, with more information about each player’s strengths and weaknesses. These three were either the best picks based on team need or the best value for when they were expected to be drafted. These were the Chargers’ best draft picks.
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