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Fantasy impact of the Chargers’ 2021 NFL Draft selections

A year after a difficult split from long-time starting QB Philip Rivers, the Chargers have a clear direction forward with reigning Offensive Rookie of the Year Justin Herbert.

Justin Herbert #10 of the Los Angeles Chargers warms up prior to the game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium on January 03, 2021 in Kansas City, Missouri. Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

A year ago, the Los Angeles Chargers transformed their organization. After more than a decade with Philip Rivers at the center, the team let the veteran quarterback depart in free agency and used the No. 6 overall pick on his eventual successor, Oregon’s Justin Herbert. That exchanged proved to be inspired, as Herbert went on to set rookie passing records on his way to securing Offensive Rookie of the Year honors.

The Chargers’ choices this offseason clearly take Herbert’s development into account. The front office added All-Pro center Corey Linsley along with presumptive O-line starters Matt Feiler and Oday Aboushi, securing the interior. That leaves left tackle as the only open question along the unit, and the team’s top pick could realistically secure a long-term starter for that spot. Better protection would allow Herbert to take greater advantage of his already stellar skill-position group that includes pass catchers Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, and Jared Cook along with do-everything running back Austin Ekeler.

Still, given the lack of an established third wideout and Williams’ expiring contract, the Chargers have plenty of motivation to add to the receiving corps. The 2021 NFL draft features no shortage of options that could last into Day 2, especially among the smaller-yet-speeder types. Adding a deep threat could open up the middle of the field for Allen and Cook as well as Ekeler when split out.

Los Angeles Chargers 2021 draft selections

No. 13: Rashawn Slater, OL
No. 47: Asante Samuel Jr., CB
No. 77: Josh Palmer, WR
No. 97: Tre’ McKitty, TE
No. 118: Chris Rumph II, LB
No. 159: Brenden Jaimes, OT
No. 185: Nick Niemann, LB
No. 198: Larry Rountree III, RB
No. 241: Mark Webb, S

Fantasy football impact

The Chargers get exactly what they were looking for here by grabbing an offensive lineman who many had graded as the second best in the draft. With QB Justin Herbert exceeding expectations last season and and the acquisition of C Corey Linsley this offseason, the Chargers’ offense is set up for big things. This pick should help all of the skill position players moving forward.

Snagging wide receiver Josh Palmer in the third round is another upgrade, and he likely would’ve had better numbers in college as he dealt with poor quarterback play at Tennessee. There is a lot of potential for him in this offense, but it might not come right away with Keenan Allen and Mike Williams as the top two receivers on the Chargers roster.

Los Angeles continued to provide Herbert with more pass catchers with a third round pick in tight end Tre’ McKitty. He made a big impact at the Senior Bowl to improve his draft stock. The Chargers brought in talented tight end pass catcher Jared Cook in the offseason, so McKitty might need some time to develop as a pro.