Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon, 6’6, 236 (1st round, No. 6): Herbert isn’t as polished as the quarterbacks who were drafted before, but he might have the most upside with an arm that’s being called the strongest among the prospects. Herbert will need to beat Tyrod Taylor for the starting job, but his physical traits could flourish with the Chargers’ depth at the skill positions.
Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma, 6’2, 241 (1st round, No. 23): Murray’s versatility essentially fills two needs for the Chargers, who were searching for a weakside linebacker and pass rush depth. Murray played middle linebacker at Oklahoma, but his high motor could make him the lead candidate to replace Thomas Davis. Murray, who was recruited as an outside linebacker, could help in blitz situations in the Chargers’ second pass-rush rotation.
Joshua Kelley, RB, UCLA, 5’11, 212 (4th round, No. 112): Kelley filled a need as a power running back and Melvin Gordon replacement, but the draft experts are high on him as a pass-catching back. He showed flashes in his limited opportunities as a receiver at UCLA, but regardless of how the yards came, he was one of the most productive running backs in school history with back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons.
Joe Reed, WR, Virginia, 6’0, 224 (5th round, No. 151): Reed’s versatility as a receiver and in special teams could make him the Chargers’ trick-play specialist. Expect jet sweeps and many motions for the former First-Team All-American kick returner. Reed excels as a catch-and-go wideout, but he could contend for the team’s deep threat opening.
Alohi Gilman, S, Notre Dame, 5’11, 201 (6th round, No. 186): The selection of Gilman made it clear the Chargers were searching for downhill tacklers regardless of position. Gilman’s tenacity to go after the ball will allow him to contend as Derwin James’ strong safety backup or at least contribute on special teams.
K.J. Hill, WR, Ohio State, 5’11, 196 (7th round, No. 220): The Chargers went strength over need after they drafted the slot receiver who led Ohio State in receptions last year. Hill is known as a crisp route-runner, and now he’ll get to learn from one of the best in Keenan Allen. The Chargers didn’t draft a go-deep burner, but Hill will be open often to move the chains.