After their 2023 NFL season wrapped up, the Los Angeles Chargers stood at a crucial juncture. With the 2024 NFL Draft looming, the franchise has an excellent chance to redirect its course and inject fresh talent into the lineup. After a tough season, the Chargers' leadership is ready to strategically select players who could significantly alter the team's destiny. This mock draft explores potential recruits who could don the iconic powder blue and propel the Chargers toward postseason success.

Los Angeles Chargers' 2023 Season Recap

The 2023 campaign marked the Chargers’ tenth and last season under general manager Tom Telesco and their third and last under head coach Brandon Staley. The Chargers were unable to better their 10–7 record from the prior season after a Week 12 defeat to the Baltimore Ravens. A subsequent Week 14 loss to the Denver Broncos, 7–24, ensured a regression in their record. Elimination from playoff contention came with a loss in Week 16 to the Buffalo Bills. Beginning with a 5–7 record, the Chargers’ season took a turn for the worse when they lost their star quarterback, Justin Herbert, to a broken finger during the Week 14 game against the Broncos. Los Angeles suffered seven losses by a margin of three points or less. That was the highest in the league.

Chargers' Brandon Staley looking serious in front. Chargers' Justin Herbert throwing a football in background.

Draft Context

Sure, the Chargers share a similarity with Denver in having several positions in need of reinforcement due to a significant departure of starters. However, they stand in better stead with Herbert as their quarterback. That mitigates any immediate need for a replacement. However, after the departures of receivers Keenan Allen and Mike Williams, the team faces a depleted receiving unit. As such, they might look to replenish early in the draft.

On the defensive side, the Chargers are confronted with deficiencies across the board. The most critical gaps are at defensive tackle, where they were ranked 31st in the league last season. In addition, linebacker is a concern. This comes after the free agency exits of 2023 starters Eric Kendricks and Kenneth Murray Jr.

Here we will look at the rookie prospects that the Los Angeles Chargers might pick up in our 7-round 2024 Mock Draft.

Pick No. 5: Marvin Harrison Jr, WR, Ohio State

Marvin Harrison Jr should top the Chargers' wish list. If he's still available at the fifth pick, it's hard to envision the team passing on him. Even with top quarterback talents still in play, the possibility of trading down with the New York Giants remains a delicate balance. Remember that the Giants could use a top receiver like Harrison as well.

Pick No. 37: Ruke Orhorhoro, DT, Clemson

The Chargers have re-signed edge rushers Joey Bosa and Khalil Mack for 2024. However, they could greatly benefit from bolstering their interior defensive line. Ruke Orhorhoro’s size and athleticism make him well-suited to play defensive end in the Chargers' projected 3-4 scheme. His athletic scores from the combine indicate elite potential. However, he’ll need to polish his fundamental skills to fully leverage his physical gifts.

Clemson Tigers defensive tackle Ruke Orhorhoro (33) celebrates after a tackle against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish during the fourth quarter at Memorial Stadium
Ken Ruinard-USA TODAY Sports

Pick No. 69: Andru Phillips, CB, Kentucky

Adding another outside cornerback is on the Chargers' agenda, considering their current roster. Andru Phillips showed a robust, aggressive style in man coverage during his time at Kentucky. That was highlighted by his impressive performance at the Senior Bowl and his athletic combine results. His build offers a slight size advantage over current cornerback Asante Samuel. That could prove beneficial in his coverage assignments.

Pick No. 105: Tykee Smith, CB, Georgia

Tykee Smith is a versatile player capable of playing both safety and cornerback. He has excelled in the nickel position. His physicality and tackling ability make him an attractive option for the Chargers. They value defensive backs who aren't hesitant to engage physically. If the team misses out on other targets, Smith stands as a strong alternative.

Pick No. 110: Cedric Gray, LB, North Carolina

With the departures of last season's starting linebackers, the Chargers might prioritize this position earlier than the fourth round. However, Cedric Gray offers considerable experience and the physical attributes needed to contribute significantly to the linebacker group. This makes him a valuable mid-draft pick.

Pick No. 140: Isaac Guerendo, RB, Louisville

Following Austin Ekeler's move, there's a notable void in the Chargers' backfield. This is where Isaac Guerendo enters the picture. He brings impressive physical attributes from his NFL Combine performance. Yes, he may not start immediately. Still, his athletic profile makes him a compelling choice for the Chargers to develop for future contributions.

Pick No. 186: Nathan Thomas, OL, Louisiana

Nathan Thomas is still developing his technique on the offensive line. This makes him a raw but promising talent. With potential to grow into a significant role as a guard, he could become a valuable asset under the guidance of an experienced offensive line coach.

Pick No. 225: Dylan McMahon, C, NC State

Dylan McMahon’s solid fundamentals and versatility across multiple line positions make him a standout candidate. His extensive collegiate experience and intelligence on the field will make him attractive to the Chargers.

Pick No. 253: Josh Proctor, S, Ohio State

Josh Proctor brings a wealth of experience from his tenure at Ohio State, having played in over 50 games. His deep understanding of defensive schemes and athletic versatility should enable him to fill various roles effectively on defense.

This mock draft is strategically crafted to enhance vital areas for the Chargers, aiming to lay a robust foundation for sustained success and ongoing development in the challenging NFL environment.