Chargers Draft Immediate Offensive Contributor With Seventh-Round Steal

The Chargers hit a home run in the seventh round of the NFL Draft, finding USC WR Brendan Rice to give Justin Herbert a dynamic late-round weapon.
Justin Herbert may have a new favorite weapon with seventh-round WR Brendan Rice
Justin Herbert may have a new favorite weapon with seventh-round WR Brendan Rice / Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

The Chargers needed pass-catching weapons entering the NFL Draft and they've just found one of the steals of the weekend in the seventh round, snatching USC standout WR Brendan Rice with the 225th overall selection.

Rice, the son of NFL legend Jerry Rice, was considered a potential fourth-round pick that fell all the way to the final round. He could compete for starting snaps on day one, bringing a Hall-of-Fame pedigree and route-running prowess to a wide receiver room devoid of experience.

With Ladd McConkey slotting in as the No. 1 receiver, Rice will face limited competition in Los Angeles' offense and is a name fans should get familiar with quickly.

Chargers Find Seventh-Round Steal in WR Brendan Rice

One of the more productive players per snap in the class, Rice had 45 catches for 791 yards (17.6 YPC) and 12 TDs in 2023. He's got a knack for the end zone and will quickly become a frequent target for Justin Herbert as Jim Harbaugh rebuilds the offense.

It's rare to find players of this caliber this late in the draft. The Chargers needed to hit a home run and did just that, quickly giving Herbert an established group of weapons to compete in the AFC West.

Overall, this is a win for Harbaugh and the Chargers' core. Los Angeles has work to do to compete with the Chiefs in the AFC West, but it appears likely the Chargers can compete for a Wild Card spot, at worst, in Harbaugh's first year.

Given the low hit rate of seventh-round picks historically, Rice might have been the best possible pick Joe Hortiz could've made. McConkey has the first-round pedigree, but I wouldn't be surprised to see Rice lead the Chargers in receiving by the end of the year.

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