AFC West Rival Comparisons: Grading the L.A. Chargers rookie class

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - APRIL 28: A detailed view of the 2022 Draft logo during round one of the 2022 NFL Draft on April 28, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - APRIL 28: A detailed view of the 2022 Draft logo during round one of the 2022 NFL Draft on April 28, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images) /

The L.A. Chargers made a lot of big changes in free agency, but how good was their draft class? Let’s look at the Chiefs’ rival in the AFC West.

The Los Angeles Chargers have been the strongest opponent for the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC West for the last few seasons. They have their franchise quarterback in Justin Herbert, a very solid running back in Austin Ekeler, two very good wide receivers in Keenan Allen and Mike Williams.

After this year’s round of free agency, they have a defense that can take on any team. But what did they add in the 2022 NFL Draft? Let’s take a look at one of the


Pick 17- Zion Johnson, OL, Boston College

This was the best selection the Chargers could’ve made at this pick. OL was their highest position of need and Zion Johnson was the best O-Lineman available. He’s not exactly fast, but that’s not important. He’s a big guy and gets the job done. He and Slater on the line will be a force to be reckoned with. Grade: A+


The Los Angeles Chargers did not make a Round 2 selection.


Pick 79- JT Woods, S, Baylor

Like Zion Johnson before him, this was the best pick the Chargers could have made. I honestly wanted JT Woods to be picked by the Chiefs, but we took Cook instead. In 14 games with Baylor last season, Woods recorded 44 solo tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, 5 INTs for 109 yards and a TD, and a fumble return for a TD. Grade: A+


Pick 123- Isaiah Spiller, RB, Texas A&M

At first, this pick confused me. Then, I looked at their depth chart and noticed the sheer drop in talent between the Chargers’ RB1 and RB2. Allen is getting up in age and could lose his talent at any moment. Spiller is the answer for that. Boasting 1,200 scrimmage yards and 7 TDs in 2021, Spiller will be a solid backup until Allen retires. Grade: A


Pick 160- Otito Ogbonnia, DT, UCLA

This pick was just all-around bad. Yes, they needed depth at nose tackle, but there were at least two other defensive tackles on the board better than Ogbonnia—namely, Matthew Butler and John Ridgeway. Both players I was thinking the Chiefs may draft. This pick was absolutely not the best player available at their position. A complete miss, in my opinion. Grade: D


Pick 195- Jamaree Salyer, OL, Georgia

Right tackle was absolutely a position of need for the Chargers. And they landed a good one in Salyer. Personally, I would have taken Thayer Munford Jr. or Rasheed Walker, but I have nothing against this guy. He’s a solid player that played for a very solid team. Grade: B+

Pick 214- Ja’Sir Taylor, DB, Wake Forest

This was an okay pick. Ja’Sir Taylor is by no means a bad player. However, if they were looking for a corner, I think they should have gone with Tariq Castro-Fields. Neither player is phenomenal, but Castro-Fields was more consistent. Grade: B-


Pick 236- Deane Leonard, DB, Ole Miss

I get that the Chargers needed more cornerback help. Prior to the draft, they only had five on the roster. However, the seventh round was not the place to get depth there. In two years with Ole Miss, Leonard only had 62 total tackles, one TFL, and no sacks. Honestly, this guy should’ve gone undrafted. Allie Green would’ve been a better pick here. Grade: D

Pick 260- Zander Horvath, FB, Purdue

What? Another running back? And one that isn’t even that good? Telesco, look at your depth chart. Offensive line was the pick here. Grade: F


At the beginning of the draft, the Chargers did very well. I was impressed with their picks of Zion Johnson, JT Woods, and Isaiah Spiller. After that, it was incredibly iffy. Round 6 was alright, but Rounds 5 and 7 were bad. However, I can’t fault them too much for missing in the 7th. What matters is that they hit early and they hit in the 5th. Grade: B-

Makes sure to also check out our look at the Denver Broncos draft class here.

Next. AA writers grade the Chiefs draft class. dark