SAN DIEGO – In this ESPN Insider piece, draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. offers his “Grade A” mock draft.
Kiper keeps it simple in his annual three-round mock draft: He serves as the general manager for each team at each pick, from No. 1 to No. 107.
For the Los Angeles Chargers, Kiper selected Clemson receiver Mike Williams at No. 7, Temple offensive lineman Dion Dawkins at No. 38 in the second round and Iowa defensive tackle Jaleel Johnson at No. 71 in the third round.
With Keenan Allen coming off ACL surgery and Travis Benjamin also working his way back from a knee issue that forced him to miss a few games last season, the Chargers certainly could use another playmaker at receiver.
And at 6-4 and 220 pounds with a wide catch radius, Williams projects as a receiver who would fit the Chargers’ offense led by Philip Rivers.
However, this receiver draft class is deep and the Chargers could be better served grabbing a safety such as Malik Hooker if the draft falls this way next week.
I also like the idea of taking an edge rusher such as Wisconsin’s T.J. Watt in the second round instead of an offensive lineman, although the Chargers could certainly use help up front on offense as well.
I asked Kiper about the possibility of the Chargers taking a developmental quarterback at No. 7, and this is what he had to say:
“I don’t know if you take a quarterback there, knowing that Philip Rivers is still playing great football,” Kiper said. “You have the possibility to get a wide receiver like Mike Williams at that point, or you have a chance to upgrade the defensive side of the football at defensive line or safety.
“No offensive lineman being worth taking that high is the issue, or they probably would. But there’s not one worth taking at that particular point. But they could [take a QB]. It depends on how they feel about these quarterbacks. There’s mixed opinions throughout the ranks of the NFL on these quarterbacks. I don’t think anyone has the same opinion when you talk to different people, so it’s tough to build a consensus on these quarterbacks. If they have a strong opinion on one of them, they could take one at No. 7
“But I just think helping out Philip Rivers at this stage would be the way to go. And of course they pick again early in the second round. And let’s face it: They’re could be a quarterback they’re eyeing at that point. I do think a quarterback is on the radar for them. I just don’t know at No. 7, depending upon who is there, if they want to get the heir apparent to Philip Rivers or try to help him.”