The dust has settled on the 2024 NFL Draft, and the Los Angeles Chargers find themselves at a pivotal juncture in their offseason. Despite making strides in the draft, there remain critical gaps that need addressing if the Chargers hope to be a dominant force in the upcoming season. With free agency presenting a golden opportunity to bolster their roster, the Chargers must act decisively. Here are three key free agents the Chargers should target to enhance their Super Bowl aspirations: wide receiver Hunter Renfrow, cornerback Xavien Howard, and running back Dalvin Cook.

Reflecting on the 2023 Season

The 2023 season marked the Los Angeles Chargers' final year under general manager Tom Telesco and head coach Brandon Staley. Despite hopes of building on their previous 10–7 record, the Chargers faced setbacks. These included a crucial Week 12 loss to the Baltimore Ravens (10–20) and a Week 14 defeat by the Denver Broncos (7–24). These ensured a worse record. The playoff hopes were dashed entirely with a Week 16 loss to the Buffalo Bills. Starting with a challenging 5–7 record, the Chargers faced a significant blow when franchise quarterback Justin Herbert suffered a broken finger in Week 14.

Justin Herbert injury, Brandon Staley, Chargers, Broncos

The Chargers' 2024 NFL Draft

The Chargers began the 2024 NFL Draft by selecting offensive tackle Joe Alt in the first round. They added nine more players over the three-day event, with five on offense and four on defense. General Manager Joe Hortiz expressed his satisfaction with the draft's outcome, highlighting their success in addressing immediate and future roster needs. Alt, considered the best available player in the first round, pairs with Rashawn Slater to form a formidable tackle duo. In a strategic move, the Chargers traded up in the second round to acquire Ladd McConkey, who is already poised to be the team's most talented receiver. This draft class serves as a foundational piece for new head coach Jim Harbaugh. He aims to cultivate both a strong team culture and a winning record.

Here we'll look at the three free agent players whom the Los Angeles Chargers must target after the 2024 NFL Draft.

Hunter Renfrow, WR

First on the list of targets is Hunter Renfrow. The Las Vegas Raiders’ standout wide receiver is a perfect fit for the Chargers' offensive scheme. Renfrow's precise route-running, reliable hands, and clutch performances on third downs make him an invaluable asset. Yes, the Chargers already invested in a rookie wide receiver. Still, adding a proven veteran like Renfrow would provide Herbert with a dependable target in critical situations. Renfrow’s ability to create separation and make contested catches would diversify the Chargers’ passing game. His presence could elevate the entire receiving corps. This would allow the Chargers to exploit mismatches and enhance their offensive efficiency.

Xavien Howard, CB

Next, the Chargers should set their sights on cornerback Xavien Howard. The Chargers' secondary struggled in 2023, often giving up big plays and failing to contain elite receivers. Howard is known for his exceptional ball skills and ability to shut down top wideouts. He would be a game-changer for the Chargers’ defense. Pairing Howard with star safety Derwin James would create a formidable duo capable of neutralizing the opposition's passing threats. Howard’s experience and leadership would also be invaluable in mentoring the younger defensive backs on the roster. Acquiring Howard would not only patch a significant hole. It could also transform the Chargers’ defense into one of the league’s best.

Dalvin Cook, RB

Joe Hortiz in the middle, 3 mystery players around him, Los Angeles Chargers wallpaper in the background

Baltimore Ravens running back Dalvin Cook (31) runs the ball against Houston Texans linebacker Blake Cashman (53) and safety DeAndre Houston-Carson (30) during the fourth quarter of a 2024 AFC divisional round game at M&T Bank Stadium
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Finally, the Chargers must pursue dynamic running back Dalvin Cook. Sure, Gus Edwards and JK Dobbins are around. However, the Chargers need an additional complementary back who can share the load and provide a different dimension to their running game. Cook's combination of speed, vision, and receiving ability would perfectly complement. He would make the Chargers’ backfield one of the most versatile and dangerous in the NFL. A balanced and explosive running game would take pressure off Herbert. This would open up play-action opportunities and keep defenses on their heels.

Looking Ahead

While the 2024 NFL Draft addressed several key areas for the Los Angeles Chargers, there are still significant gaps that must be filled. Targeting free agents like Hunter Renfrow, Xavien Howard, and Dalvin Cook could provide the missing pieces needed to elevate the Chargers to the next level. Renfrow's reliability, Howard's shutdown ability, and Cook's dynamic playmaking would collectively strengthen the Chargers’ roster. This would make them a more balanced and formidable team. As the Chargers aim to capitalize on Herbert's prime years and compete for a championship, these strategic acquisitions in free agency could be the decisive factor in achieving their Super Bowl aspirations. The time to act is now, and the Chargers must seize the opportunity to solidify their roster and make a strong push for glory in the 2024 season.