Chargers Sign Round 2 WR Ladd McConkey, Wrap Draft Class

Make that nine unsigned draft picks as of June 17. A year after 14 second-rounders entered July unsigned, the 2024 draft class has now seen every Round 2 choice agree to terms by mid-June.

The Chargers are the last team to cross the finish line here, but’s Ian Rapoport tweets they now have second-round wide receiver Ladd McConkey signed to his four-year rookie deal. As the No. 34 overall pick, McConkey will see most of his rookie contract guaranteed.

A near-$1MM gap between the Year 4 salary guarantees for the Nos. 33 and 35 overall picks (Bills WR Keon Coleman, Falcons DL Ruke Orhorhoro) undoubtedly created a natural drag in Chargers-McConkey talks. But the Georgia alum is locked in and landed more guarantees than Will Levis did after he became the second choice in last year’s second round. The Titans guaranteed Levis $8.7MM of Levis’ $9.5MM rookie deal; Rapoport adds McConkey will better that.

Even factoring in the QB premium Levis received, this year’s batch of second-rounders making notable guarantee strides pointed to McConkey bettering Levis’ contract. The salary cap’s $30.6MM jump is raising all boats, though second-rounders have continued to make progress here. In addition to three guaranteed years, Coleman’s Bills contract includes $1.74MM of his $2.1MM 2027 base salary. Coleman’s guarantee percentage betters that of Joe Tryon-Shoyinka, whom the Buccaneers chose to close out the 2021 first round. McConkey probably will not be far behind here.

While McConkey’s contract will provide him key security and help the players chosen near the top of the 2025 second round, he steps in at an interesting point on the Chargers’ timeline. The team’s Jim Harbaugh hire preceded a Mike Williams release and a Keenan Allen trade to the Bears. McConkey will join Josh Palmer, DJ Chark and 2023 first-round pick Quentin Johnston as the top Justin Herbert targets — in what is expected to be a run-heavier offense compared to recent years.

The Chargers traded up (via the Patriots) for McConkey, moving up three spots for the national championship-winning WR. A shifty slot player, McConkey showed notable improvement from 2021 to ’22. In the latter campaign, he posted 762 yards and seven touchdowns on 58 receptions. Back and ankle injuries limited McConkey in 2023 — a season that also saw Georgia lose Brock Bowers for a stretch — but he still averaged a career-best 15.9 yards per catch. Checking in at 6-foot, 186 pounds at the Combine, McConkey improved his draft stock by blazing to a 4.39-second 40-yard dash.

Allen’s crafty route running aided Herbert’s quick NFL ascent, with Williams providing contributions — particularly in 2021 — as a downfield option. The Bolts, who now employ run-oriented OC Greg Roman, now have McConkey signed through 2027. After Johnston struggled as a rookie, the team will hope McConkey can make a quicker assimilation to help Herbert in Harbaugh’s first season back in the pros.

Finishing off this year’s second-round signings, the Chargers have completed their draft class deals. Here is how Harbaugh’s first Los Angeles class looks:

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