The 2022 NFL draft is officially in the books.
The Chargers got better and faster on both sides of the ball, all while bringing in players that upgrade the special teams department.
In the eyes of national writers and analysts, how did they view Los Angeles’ haul?
A look at the experts’ grades and overall review of the Bolt’s selections:
The Chargers sent their second-round pick to Chicago for Khalil Mack (an excellent move in the tough AFC West). With their only Day 2 pick, they selected Woods, who could work in the slot or at safety because of his athleticism and willingness to be physical.
“Thanks to a great pre-draft process, Zion Johnson worked his way into the first round. Johnson saw time at both tackle and guard during his college career, and even kicked inside to center during the Senior Bowl, and that potential versatility made him a first-round pick. He projects best at guard, and the Los Angeles Chargers can slot him in at right guard to start his NFL career. Getting their best five in front of Justin Herbert had to be a goal for Tom Telesco going into the draft, and the selection of Johnson is a huge step in that direction. Then in the third round they added JT Woods, the second Baylor safety to come off the board. With both Nasir Adderly and Derwin James in the fold, this is a nice option behind those two players. Woods is a speedy, rangy type of safety and you can see the Chargers perhaps using him as the center fielder in some three-safety packages alongside Adderly and James, who have both spent some time down in the box.
Perhaps their most intriguing selection was Georgia offensive lineman Jamaree Salyer, in the sixth round. Salyer was expected to be off the board well before the sixth round, and during his time at Georgia he played across the entire offensive line. Given the pick of Johnson and Salyer, it seems the Chargers are placing an emphasis on versatility along their offensive line. ”
“The Chargers mostly recognized they needed to pick to contend now with Justin Herbert, and getting Johnson to boost the interior offenisve line and Spiller to better complement Ausin Ekeler was huge. Ogbonnia filled a positional need and Salyer might end up solving right tackle, too. They didn’t need to do much to tweak in the draft after keeping Mike Williams and adding both JC Jackson and Khalil Mack in a free agency. ”
“Color me a bit surprised the Chargers did not address their run-support issues until later in the draft. Ogbonnia certainly has his moments, even though he sometimes gets vertical in conflict, which works to his disadvantages. Johnson was also interesting given the Chargers’ need at right tackle, however, there are some street free agents who may still be able to fill that spot; the post-draft veteran cutdown may also yield a workable veteran option if the Chargers want to add bodies to their competition. Woods completes an impressive secondary turnaround under Brandon Staley, who eyes a hybrid Belichick / Fangio kind of defense that wins with bodies in the secondary, something you can do when Joey Bosa and Khalil Mack are flying off the edge. Spiller will soon factor into the Chargers’ workload and patched a sneaky need for a team that relies far too much on Austin Ekeler, who factors so heavily into the passing game. Perhaps Spiller is more of a dependable, early down back who can log some miles and keep Ekeler fresh. ”
“Strategy has been the same in free agency and the draft for two years: protect Justin Herbert. The drop-off was steep after two guards – and the Chargers nabbed the second. Woods was a reach in a deep safety class. ”
Grade: C +
“The Chargers were wise to address their offensive line with their first-round pick, given the urgency to properly protect QB Justin Herbert. But while G Zion Johnson was worth the 17th choice, it’s fair to wonder if the Chargers made the proper move, with T Trevor Penning available at that point and all those imposing edge rushers in the AFC West. The Chargers’ draft was more about quantity than top-end quality, with plenty of Day 3 activity. Getting G Jamaree Salyer in the sixth round was a nice pickup. ”
“Best Pick: First-round offensive lineman Zion Johnson will add a nice inside presence to their offense. He can play up and down the line, which is key. He’s a good player.
Worst Pick: Do they really need third-round safety JT Woods? They have Derwin James and Nasir Adderley. It seemed like a luxury pick.
The Skinny: Getting Johnson to help up front was big. He will be a longtime starter. The rest of the draft was just OK for me. I do like the sixth-round offensive lineman Jamaree Salyer. ”