Chargers Have 17th Choice In NFL Draft's First Round

Photo: Dave Weiss

INGLEWOOD (CNS) - The Los Angeles Chargers have the 17th choice in the first round of the NFL draft today with analysts nearly split evenly between whether the choice will be an offensive or defensive player.

Among the 42 analysts cited on the team's website, 22 predict the choice will be an offensive player, either a lineman or receiver, and 20 a defensive player.

The most frequently mentioned players for the Chargers' selection are Ohio State receiver Chris Olave and Northern Iowa offensive tackle Trevor Penning, with six predictions each, and Washington cornerback Trent McDuffie and Georgia defensive tackle Jordan Davis with five each.

Since the start of the common draft era in 1967, 14 players selected 17th have made a Pro Bowl, including safety Derwin James Jr. who the Chargers took with the pick in 2018, the only other time in the common draft era they have picked 17th.

Three members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame have been the 17th choice -- guards Gene Upshaw and Steve Hutchinson and running back Emmitt Smith, the NFL's career rushing leader.

Instead of conducting the first round at their Costa Mesa headquarters, the Chargers will use their locker room at SoFi Stadium for their pre-choice deliberations.

``If we hadn't had the pandemic draft, it would be really, really strange,'' general manager Tom Telesco said, referring to the 2020 draft. ``I would have been, probably, fighting back a little bit on it. Again, I was worried about the pandemic draft and doing it from home. I didn't think that was going to work and it worked awesome.''

``If I can draft from my dining room table, I can draft from anywhere.

The stadium, we have a huge locker room, plenty of space. It won't be an issue at all. It will be kind of fun.''

The Chargers will conduct a DraftFest at SoFi Stadium, which will feature a pre-draft concert by Snoop Dogg with electronic dance music DJ, violinist and singer Esther Anaya set to perform the opening set. DraftFest will be hosted by Real 92.3's personality Louie G and outside linebacker Chris Rumph II.

Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert, receiver Keenan Allen, James and newly acquired cornerback JC Jackson and tight end Gerald Everett are scheduled to appear.

Telesco and coach Brandon Staley will be interviewed live in-stadium by NFL Network personality Taylor Bisciotti. The draft's televised broadcast will be shown on SoFi Stadium's Infinity Screen along with exclusive live war room look-ins.

Other appearances include both English-language broadcaster Matt ``Money'' Smith and Spanish-language broadcaster Adrian Garcia-Marquez, who will join Louis G on stage to offer their insights. There will be photo opportunities set up throughout the stadium, performances by the Thunderbolts drumline, open gameday stadium concessions and an exclusive Team Store discount for season ticket members.

To attend DraftFest, fans must reserve their free ticket in advance at Fans will also have access in advance to on-site parking via a $10 donation to the Chargers Impact Fund, described by the team as a nonprofit organization helping ``families thrive in and around Los Angeles.''

Fans can enter the stadium through Entry Gates 8, 9 and 10 beginning at 3 p.m. The draft will begin at 5 p.m. DraftFest will continue until 9 p.m.

The Chargers have one choice Friday during the second day of the draft, the 15th selection in the third round, the 79th overall selection. They dealt their second-round choice to the Chicago Bears in March as part of the trade to acquire outside linebacker Khalil Mack.

The Chargers have eight choices on the final day of the draft when the fourth through seventh rounds are conducted, one each in the fourth and fifth rounds, two in the sixth and four in the seventh.

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