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LA Chargers Selected Ladd McConkey And Junior Colson On The Second Day Of NFL Draft

Ladd McConkey And Junior Colson
© Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

Day two of the 2024 NFL Draft has concluded with two quality picks in Ladd McConkey And Junior Colson. The Los Angeles Chargers seem to have found a target for Justin Herbert. As the second round kicked off, the Bolts made a move with the New England Patriots to move up from pick 37 to pick 34 overall.

The deal consisted of the Chargers sending New England one of their two fourth-round picks (110th overall), 37th overall, for the 34th overall pick and the 137th overall pick. Following the Bills selection of Keon Coleman, the Chargers noticed a run on wide receivers was looming and did not want to miss out on their guy. McConkey is ranked in both Dane Brugler and Daniel Jeremiah's top-32 prospects.

Ladd McConkey And Junior Colson
© Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Joe Hortiz has remained consistent with his best player available mentality and surely enough he stuck to that in round three. We would be naive to think coach Jim Harbaugh didn't have an influence on this selection, despite Hortiz saying he gets the final call on who gets selected. Michigan linebacker, Junior Colson, was selected by Los Angeles at 69th overall despite his 42nd overall ranking from Dane Brugler. Not only was this the best player available type of selection, but it addressed a fit for the Bolts. Obviously, Harbaugh is his. Wolverines as well. The value at this point in the draft was very impressive.

Who are Ladd McConkey and Junior Colson?

McConkey is a familiar name among the Georgia Bulldog fanbase. He is a 22-year-old wide receiver born in the same state he played college in, Georgia. McConkey is roughly 6-foot tall and 190 pounds. Not known for his size, McConkey exhibits the ability to be versatile in offenses. He lined up more than 65% of the time on the outside but shows elite slot ability with his route running. McConkey has dependable hands, a knack for finding soft spots in zone coverage and blazing speed. McConkey surprised a lot of scouts when he logged a 4.39 40-yard dash time at the NFL Combine. McConkey is a two-time national champion with the Bulldogs.

Junior Colson may be on the other side of the ball but he has one thing in common with McConkey: being a winner. Colson was the head of the spear as the signal caller for the Michigan defense under coach Harbaugh last year and helped lead them to a national championship this past season. Colson was the leading tackler for the Wolverines last year, finishing with 95 tackles. Colson, a two-time All-Big Ten player, finished with the 4th overall tackling grade, per Pro Football Focus. Colson is a very disciplined linebacker both in tackling and defending the pass. Colson has instincts to shoot gaps properly, flashing potential to be an All-Pro at the NFL level.

How Do They Fit and What Does This Mean For The Bolts?

Earlier this off-season the Chargers made a shocking move when they traded veteran pass catcher, Keenan Allen, to Chicago for a fourth-round pick (110th overall). This left the Chargers wide receiver room with only four names on the roster. Quentin Johnston, Josh Palmer, Semi Fehoko, and Derius Davis. While fans and Johnston himself are expecting a bounce-back year from the 2023 first-rounder, there is still a huge lack of depth in the wide receiver room.

Keenan Allen brought the ability to defeat man coverage by offering an elite route tree and versatility in the slot. McConkey, however, helps replace that role. He is a very efficient route runner who isn't afraid to get into the middle of the field. McConkey has a full route tree and can plug into the slot where Keenan Allen's role was. This will make defensive coordinators pay attention to McConkey by accounting for the threat in the middle of the field, thus opening up more opportunities for Palmer and Johnston to flourish. Don't let this fool you, McConkey can and will line up on the outside to pose as a deep threat with his 4.39 speed.

Junior Colson's fit with Los Angeles might be the best yet. The Chargers recently signed veteran linebacker Denzel Perryman. Perryman, 32 later this year, is a great veteran presence to have in the linebacker room with Daiyan Henley. Perryman also has familiarity with the Chargers, since he was drafted by them in 2011. Henley was a third-round selection for the Chargers in 2023. Despite excitement from fans, Henley did not touch the field much in 2023. Following the recent departure of 2020 first-round pick Kenneth Murray, the Chargers needed to add linebacker depth. Colson fits the mold and then some for Harbaugh.

Harbaugh brought quite the regime with him from Michigan, including defensive coordinator Jesse Minter. Minters' defense at Michigan was a huge contributing factor to how they won the national championship in 2023. The defense was led by Colson. Now, Minter is the Chargers defensive coordinator. By selecting Colson, makes the transition between Minter and Colson much smoother. Colson will walk into the facility having mastered Minter's defense already, unlike everyone else around him. While Harbaugh clearly influenced this selection, it turns out that newly hired linebackers coach NaVarro Bowman was the loudest to support Colson. "I stood on a table from day one for you, dog. I am happy you are here. We can hit the ground running fast, man." Bowman told Colson following the selection. Bowman is a former pro-bowl linebacker who played for Jim Harbaugh with the 49ers who is entering his first year as a coach in the NFL. Colson has the potential to be the day-one starting middle linebacker if he shines in training camp.


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