LOS ANGELES (CNS) - The Los Angeles Chargers have the 21st choice in the first round of the NFL draft Thursday, with analysts saying the team is more likely to choose an offensive player, specifically a receiver or tight end.
Among the 13 analysts cited on the team's website, nine predicted the choice will be an offensive player, with three predicting the Chargers would draft Utah tight end Dalton Kincaid and two predicting Texas running back Bijan Robinson.
Of the four analysts who predicted the Chargers would select a defensive player, two predicted they would choose an edge rusher, specifically Myles Murphy from Clemson or Nolan Smith from Georgia.
Past 21st pick selections include Hall of Fame receivers Randy Moss and Lynn Swann.
While the Chargers and Baltimore Ravens both had 10-7 records and losses in the wild-card round, the Chargers got the higher pick because they had a lower strength of schedule, .443 to .509.
The Chargers would ordinarily have chosen 22nd but the league stripped the Miami Dolphins of their first-round draft choice in August as part of the punishment for multiple violations of the league's anti-tampering policy in conversations with quarterback Tom Brady and Don Yee, the agent for then-New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton. The Dolphins would have chosen 21st.
Chargers radio analyst Daniel Jeremiah said last week it was "a real possibility" that the team would trade down for a choice in the late 20s or early 30s, partially for salary cap considerations in connection with quarterback Justin Herbert's new contact.
"I think as you're getting ready to pay Justin, having more cheap starters is going to be the way to go," Jeremiah said in a conference call promoting the NFL Network's draft coverage, where he will be the lead draft analyst. "I think look no further than the Chiefs and what they were able to do -- the Tyreek (Hill) trade and playing so many rookies and getting so many cheap starters through the draft."
The Chargers would have "a good group of edge rushers you could be picking from," should they trade down, including Murphy, Will McDonald IV (Iowa State), and Felix Anudike-Uzomah (Kansas State), Jeremiah said.
Receivers expected to be available should Chargers trade down include Jalin Hyatt (Tennessee) and Zay Flowers (Boston College), Jeremiah said.
The Chargers will conduct the draft at the Westfield Century City shopping center, where they will hold a draft party from 3:30-10 p.m.
The party will include Pro Football Hall of Famers Dan Fouts, Kellen Winslow and Charlie Joiner celebrating the selection of the late Chargers coach Don Coryell to the Pro Football Hall of Fame at 4:30 p.m.
Following the Coryell celebration, English-language broadcaster Matt "Money" Smith and Spanish-language broadcaster Adrian Garcia-Marquez will interview present and past Chargers players, including quarterback Justin Herbert, safety Derwin James and Hall of Fame running back LaDainian Tomlinson.
General manager Tom Telesco and coach Brandon Staley will be interviewed exclusively for fans in attendance at the party prior to the start of the draft.
The broadcast of the draft will be shown on a giant LED screen along with live look-ins from the team's war room. There will also be photo opportunities and interactive experiences, giveaways, performances by Chargers gameday DJ, Esther Anaya, and the Thunderbolts drumline.
Fans who want to attend the party must register at Chargers.com/draftparty to receive a QR code for entry. Due to limited space on both the Atrium Stage and Terrace levels, fans with QR codes will be admitted to the event on a first-come, first-served basis.
Once the event space reaches capacity, fans who were unable to gain entry may still watch the program from public areas surrounding the Atrium space.
Thursday's first round will begin slightly after 5 p.m. and will be televised by ESPN, ABC and the NFL Network. The draft is being conducted in Kansas City, Missouri for the first time.
The Chargers have two choices Friday during the second day of the draft, the 23rd selection in the second round, the 54th overall selection, and the 22nd selection in the third round, the 85th overall choice.
The Chargers have four choices on the final day of the draft when the fourth through seventh rounds will be conducted, one in each round.