By Brentley Weissman
Now is the time in the NFL season where one of two things happen as a fan. You are bracing yourself for your team to make a playoff push and every game has a lot more urgency, or, unfortunately, the playoffs are no longer in the cards for your team and it’s time to turn your attention to the 2021 Big Board and get excited for the draft. For Los Angeles Chargers fans, unfortunately it’s time for the latter.
The Chargers currently sit at 2-7 and have somehow lost every game by just one score. It's been a brutal and heartbreaking season for Chargers fans, but there definitely is reason for optimism moving forward. The Chargers have been without star safety Derwin James, and his return in 2021 will do wonders for this defense. Additionally, it is clear that the Chargers have struck gold with 2020 first-round quarterback Justin Herbert, who is the favorite to win the Rookie of the Year award.
With Herbert back at the helm next season and with the team primed to get healthy, if the Chargers hit on this upcoming draft they could be right back in the thick of things. Here are five players Chargers fans should keep an eye on this weekend.
Wyatt Davis, IOL, Ohio State
Indiana at Ohio State 12 p.m. ET
The Chargers are in dire need of interior line help. They could use a center and two new guards. Wyatt Davis is widely viewed as the best interior offensive lineman in the draft. He is a guy with rare size and movement skills and plays with a physical mentality. He has struggled some this season, but his upside is tremendous. Adding Davis to the Chargers' offensive line would make a big difference in helping get this run game going and keeping their franchise quarterback upright.
Kadarius Toney, WR, Florida
Florida at Vanderbilt 12 p.m. ET
Keenan Allen and Mike Williams are one of the league's top wide receiver duos. They provide Herbert excellent options on the outside and are both extremely hard to defend. The Chargers could stand to get better at their third receiver spot, as Jalen Guyton would be best suited as a No. 4 or situational deep threat. Kadarius Toney is one of the most explosive players in all of college football and would give the Chargers an element they don't currently have. Additionally, Toney could be their starting kick and punt returner from day one.
Patrick Surtain II, DB, Alabama
Kentucky at Alabama 4 p.m. ET
One position the Chargers could definitely improve is cornerback. While Casey Hayward is still playing well, he is getting up there in age, and same with Chris Harris. In a division with Patrick Mahomes, having young talented corners is a must. Alabama’s Patrick Surtain is one of the draft’s best corners. He has prototypical size and movement skills, while also being ultra-competitive. If the top offensive lineman is off the board, I expect this team to draft defense and Surtain would make a lot of sense.
Kwity Paye, EDGE, Michigan
Michigan at Rutgers 7:30 p.m. ET
One of the biggest risers in this year's class, Michigan’s Kwity Paye is a terror off the edge. An explosive and tenacious rusher, Paye has been extremely disruptive for the Wolverines. Adding Paye would make so much sense for the Chargers as Los Angeles has very little pass rush presence outside of Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram. Paye could be that third rusher or be an option if the Chargers elect to not re-sign Ingram.
Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech
Virginia Tech at Pittsburgh 4 p.m. ET
By far and away the biggest need for the Chargers is a left tackle. Starter Sam Tevi has been below average for two straight seasons, and if Herbert is going to reach his extremely high ceiling, he will need to be better protected. Virginia Tech’s Christian Darrisaw is an athletic big man with outstanding strength. He has the ability to mirror and slide laterally in the passing game, but also has the power to generate movement at the point of attack. Darrisaw has a tough matchup with Pittsburgh edge rushers Patrick Jones and Evan Weaver, and scouts will surely be paying close attention.