The Los Angeles Chargers, led by second-year QB Justin Herbert, just missed the chance to compete in the playoffs last season. Trailing the division-rival Las Vegas Raiders, 29-14, with just over eight minutes left to play in the final regular season game of the season, the Chargers quickly scored a touchdown and completed a two-point conversion. With a trip to the postseason on the line, Herbert led the Chargers on a thrilling game-tying drive when he threw a touchdown on the final play of regulation. Thanks in part to a controversial timeout call by Brandon Staley in overtime, the Raiders came away with a win and Los Angeles missed the postseason for the third straight season.
Despite almost making the playoffs, the Chargers were 23rd in total defense last season, recording notably bad marks in the second half and overtime of games (269 points allowed) and allowing opposing offenses to convert 49.5% of third-down opportunities.
Following the loss to the Raiders, the Chargers wasted no time in making improvements, particularly on the defensive side of the ball. Los Angeles traded a 2022 second-round pick and 2023 sixth-round pick in the draft to the Chicago Bears to acquire Pro Bowl pass rusher Khalil Mack. In his 53 games in Chicago, Mack recorded 36 sacks and was First Team All-Pro in 2018. With Mack alongside Pro Bowler Joey Bosa, the Chargers significantly strengthen their edge rushing unit, which is important in a division that includes the likes of Patrick Mahomes, Derek Carr and now Russell Wilson.
The Chargers also bolstered their secondary by signing former New England Patriots cornerback J.C. Jackson to a five-year deal. In his fourth season with the Patriots last year, Jackson earned his first Pro Bowl selection. His eight interceptions were the second most in the NFL behind only Dallas Cowboys cornerback Trevon Diggs’ 11. An undrafted free agent out of Maryland in 2018, Jackson has made his mark in the NFL with 25 total interceptions since entering the league. For the Chargers, Jackson provides much-needed assistance to a thin secondary.
In the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft, the Chargers used the No. 13 overall pick on offensive lineman Rashawn Slater. While there is still room for improvement on the defensive side of the ball, Los Angeles may look to target the offensive line once again in this year’s draft. After releasing offensive tackle Bryan Bulaga in March, the Chargers could use an upgrade at the right tackle position to help ensure that Herbert will be protected under center.
Click here for the entire 2022 NFL Draft order and keep reading to see who the Chargers take in the 2022 NFL Draft. Coverage of the latest news from around the NFL is available all year round on PFT’s Peacock channel.
Los Angeles Chargers 2022 NFL Draft Picks:
Round 1: No. 17 – Zion Johnson, G, Boston College
Round 3: No. 79 – JT Woods, S, Baylor
Round 4: No. 123 – Isaiah Spiller, RB, Texas A&M
Round 5: No. 160 – Otito Ogbonnia, DT, UCLA
Round 6: No. 195 – Jamaree Salyer, G, Georgia
Round 6: No. 214 – Ja’Sir Taylor, CB, Wake Forest
Round 7: No. 236 – Deane Leonard, DB, Ole Miss
Round 7: No. 260 – Zander Horvath, FB, Purdue
Check out draft picks for other teams in the AFC West