I should preface this by saying I am playing a bit of a Devil's Advocate here.
Still, the possibility of trading up is worthy of serious consideration. The Chargers are not one draft away from being a Super Bowl contender. They may be 2 drafts away.
However, unless the team has plans on regressing, we won't be in a better draft position than we are now. So let's take advantage of it. Trade up and get one of those top 3 LTs. It would almost certainly cost us our 2nd round pick, possibly an additional late round or provisional 2014 pick to sweeten the pot. But in the grand scheme, it might be worth it.
Of course, such thinking is anathema to this year's conventional draft wisdom. Everyone wants to trade down. Everyone. This draft is considered flat with little difference between picks, and to some extent, even between rounds. This creates an environment in which a lot of teams are looking to trade down; which in turn creates a bit of a market for teams looking to trade up. If we go with the flow, we might not be able to find someone below us to trade with, especially at the 11 spot. But we could almost certainly find a trade partner ahead of us.
Let's face it, any one of the top elite LTs could solidify our line for the next decade. And all three are considered 1st year starters and pretty safe picks. The same cannot be said for the next tier of OTs. And in the offensive hierarchy of need, LT is second only to QB.
Yes, losing our 2nd pick sucks. But not being able to protect rivers' blindside could easily be worse if we have to seriously restrict the offense to accommodate LT shortcomings--or even worse, if Rivers goes down to injury. Then that 2nd round pick won't really mean much of anything. Rivers' technique and decision-making have already suffered from the abuse he's taken over the last 2 years. Why risk subjecting him to another?
The fact is, the offense was a completely different animal when we had our starting LT in the game. ( And before anyone gets into the advanced calculus of the impact of quality of guard play on the OT position, or some obscure PFF stat, just acknowledge that solidifying the LT position eliminates the need for any such arithmetic.)
With all the quality FAs still out there, we should be able to find guys willing to fight it out--for vet minimum plus incentives--to win the starting job at any holes we can't fill in the draft. And really, we'd just need to find oone FA starter to supplant the lost pick.
Let's say we had a draft that went something like:
Rd. 1 - OT, Lane Johnson/Eric Fisher
Rd. 3 - S, Baccari Rambo/Shamarko Thomas (For the names alone)
Rd. 4 - ILB, AJ Klein
Rd. 5 - DE, Joe Kruger
Rd. 6 - NT, Kwame Geathers
Rd. 7 - DB/ST, Dexter McCoil/Marcus Cooper
Would it be all that bad? Has irreparable harm been done to the roster?
We're not expecting to win it all this year anyway.
So let's go get our guy.