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2024 NFL Draft: Chargers Need to Reload Under Harbaugh

Checking up on the latest NFL updates today, it’s become more than clear that the Los Angeles Chargers are entering a new era under the leadership of head coach Jim Harbaugh and general manager Joe Hortiz. After a disappointing 5-12 season, the team has been actively reshaping its roster through free agency and preparing for the upcoming NFL Draft.

Now, with the Chargers are all-in for 2024, they have been making some key offseason moves to prove it. With smart free-agent signings and an eye toward the draft, LA is addressing key weaknesses and bolstering its roster around quarterback Justin Herbert.

2024 NFL Draft: Chargers Need to Reload Under Harbaugh
Joey Bosa #97 of the Los Angeles Chargers | Stacy Revere/Getty Images/AFP

But are these moves enough to finally dethrone the Kansas City Chiefs as perennial NFL betting odds favorites in the AFC West?

 

With Harbaugh in Charge, LA Made Some Big Moves

The Chargers have been very busy during the 2024 free agency period, making strategic moves to revamp their roster under the guidance of Harbaugh and Hortiz. The team faced a tough cap situation, needing to clear over $20 million to become compliant.

According to various NFL news sites covering the Chargers, they achieved this goal by restructuring the contracts of star pass rushers Khalil Mack and Joey Bosa, saving around $10.4 million each against the 2024 cap. Additionally, they released wide receiver Mike Williams, who ended up being snatched up by the New York Jets, freeing up another $20 million in cap space.

On the offensive side, the Chargers parted ways with several key playmakers. Keenan Allen was traded to the Chicago Bears for a 2024 fourth-round draft pick, Austin Ekeler signed with the Washington Commanders right after being allowed to test out free agency and Gerald Everett joined Allen by signing with the Bears.

To fill these voids and support Harbaugh’s vision of a power running game, the team signed former Baltimore Ravens running back Gus Edwards to a two-year, $6.5 million deal and tight end Hayden Hurst. Both players have experience working with offensive coordinator Greg Roman from their time in Baltimore.

Defensively, the Chargers prioritized retaining safety Alohi Gilman, who had a breakout season as a starter in 2023, by re-signing him to a two-year, $11 million deal. They also added depth to their defensive line and linebacker corps with the signings of Poona Ford, Troy Dye and Denzel Perryman.

Despite these moves, the Chargers still have work to do to improve a defensive unit that struggled in 2023. With limited cap space restricting their ability to make significant external additions, the success of the team will rely heavily on Harbaugh, Hortiz and the new coaching staff’s ability to maximize the potential of their current core while hitting on early draft picks to bounce back from a disappointing 5-12 season.

 

Our Complete Initial LA Chargers 2024 Season NFL Odds

 

Who are Chargers Looking to Snag in NFL Draft?

The Chargers’ 2024 NFL draft strategy is a hot topic among fans and analysts alike. With nine total picks, including the coveted No. 5 overall selection, the Bolts are primed to infuse their roster with top-tier talent. But hold your horses. Before we dive into the nitty-gritty of their draft plans, let’s talk about LA’s most pressing positional needs.

First and foremost, the wide receiver corps is in desperate need of a facelift. After bidding adieu to Williams and Allen, the Chargers are left with a bunch of unproven youngsters who couldn’t find consistency with a map and a compass in 2023.

Secondly, the cornerback group is about as sturdy as a house of cards, allowing the third-most passing yards per game last season. Lastly, the defensive tackle position is thinner than a supermodel on a juice cleanse after losing key contributors.

Now, let’s talk about that juicy first-round draft pick. Most mock drafts have the Chargers either snagging a top wideout or a stud offensive tackle – unless they pull off a trade. Ohio State’s Marvin Harrison Jr. would be a dream come true, but he might be gone faster than free pizza at a college dorm.

Malik Nabers and Rome Odunze are more realistic options, with Nabers being the NFL draft odds favorite if the Chargers stay put at five.

On the offensive tackle front, Joe Alt and Taliese Fuaga are the cream of the crop. Alt’s got the moves of a seasoned pro while Fuaga’s a powerhouse in the run game. Some wild cards have even thrown tight end Brock Bowers into the mix, but let’s be real for a second. Tight end is just not the top priority.

Don’t be shocked if the Chargers trade down a few spots, though. They could score an extra first-round pick if a QB-hungry team comes knocking, allowing them to address multiple needs in one fell swoop.

In the later rounds, keep an eye out for the Chargers to snag a starting-caliber cornerback, center or wide receiver if they didn’t already nab one in the first. On day three, expect them to add some depth at running back, edge rusher, safety and offensive tackle.

At the end of the day, the Chargers’ draft strategy is like a high-stakes game of poker. How they play their cards, especially that No. 5 pick, could make or break their chances of bouncing back in the AFC West. But with Harbaugh and Hortiz at the helm, Chargers fans have reason to believe that brighter days are just around the corner.

 

 

Questions Of The Day

What Are LA’s Odds To Win The AFC West Division?


According to our online sportsbook, the Chargers are second favorites to win the AFC West with +300 odds behind the Chiefs.

How Many Draft Picks Do The Chargers Have For The 2024 Draft?


LA has a total of nine draft picks for the upcoming 2024 NFL Draft, including the No. 5 overall selection.

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