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NFL Draft: Would you want Chargers to trade up?

NFL: APR 26 2019 NFL Draft Photo by Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

It’s not the strongest time of the NFL news year and therefore this week we got “Joe Burrow should pull an Eli Manning” rumors and stories from each corner of the football web-o-sphere. The fact is that the Cincinnati Bengals are a prime candidate to draft a quarterback and Burrow is likely the same as 99.99% of prospects in that he’ll go to the team that selects him. So at this time I’d say the number one pick is off limits, but I’m open to the next four teams being open to a change.

Is LA Chargers GM Tom Telesco open to moving up though?

As we know, he hasn’t made a trade of any kind since 2017, has made only six trades overall since taking over as GM in 2013, and hasn’t moved up for a player since Melvin Gordon in 2015. Because of the lack of deals, the Chargers once again hold no extra picks beyond their original seven, but they do possess all seven original picks.

At pick two, Washington is in position to take the player who most feel is the best overall prospect in the draft: Ohio State defensive end Chase Young. But because Washington has selected a defensive lineman in the first round of each of the last three drafts, Young may be overkill at a time when a new front office could really shake things up by adding more picks.

A bidding war for Young, assuming that one of the other QBs doesn’t blow scouts away and assert himself as the consensus number two — in which case Washington has even more selling power — would mean that they could potentially land an extra first rounder this year, in addition to next. The Miami Dolphins possess three first rounders, including five, 18, and 26, plus 39 in round two. The Las Vegas Raiders hold picks 12 and 19. The Jacksonville Jaguars are at picks nine, 20, and 42 in the second round.

Were we to find out that the Chargers were obsessed with Tua Tagovailoa or Justin Herbert, and that the Detroit Lions refused to move from pick three, then perhaps Washington would be the team they attempt to negotiate with. Unfortunately, they likely do not possess the buying power that Washington requires to take the massive risk of missing out on Chase Young. If Washington is open to deal, other teams may bust down their door and go with three first round picks if they can go up and get Young.

At three, the Lions seem to be an open book with blank pages. They need everything, potentially including a new quarterback should they look for and find a buyer for Matthew Stafford. This potentially makes Detroit a prime candidate for a trade down and any team moving up could very well be doing so for Tagovailoa or Herbert. We know that the other prospect often touted here is Ohio State cornerback Jeff Okudah, though as rare as it is for a secondary player to go in the top three, it is even rarer for a team to trade up for one.

They will do it quite often for a quarterback, however.

If the Dolphins feel they can’t miss out on Tagovailoa or Herbert or (Mystery QB That Has Shot Up The Boards), then there’s pretty much nothing that Telesco can do to outwit them for the third overall pick; Miami is picking earlier (five) than the Chargers and as I said, has three picks between 18 and 39.

In almost any reasonable way you can imagine, if there happen to be two elite quarterback prospects in this draft by late April, and the Dolphins have given up on the idea of Josh Rosen and are ready for a QBOTF right now, there’s pretty much no way that the Chargers end up with one of the two. Burrow would be going to the Bengals, as we expect, and QB2 is probably going to go to the Dolphins.

Reminder: This may not matter. Referencing 2004 again, some would argue that the third QB off the board that year (Ben Roethlisberger) was better than both Manning and Philip Rivers. Nobody would dispute that all three have ended their careers with plenty of accomplishments and came out remarkably even in many ways. QB3 in 2017 was Deshaun Watson.

Still, at this time, I would think that LA might have to resign themselves that even with entertaining a trade up they are going to have a hard time landing one of the top two quarterback prospects regardless of how you feel about Tagovailoa or Herbert. They would have to be willing to part with a lot to move ahead of the Dolphins and they would have to hope that the Dolphins aren’t willing to part with more.

This is just my rough estimation at the moment, I could be wrong. The quarterback values could and probably will change. The values of prospects at other positions will change. But at the moment I’m thinking that LA will have a difficult time landing their second-rated QB if Miami has the same feelings as they do about that prospect.

So let’s say that Burrow goes one, Young goes two, and Tagovailoa goes three. Or let’s say that Okudah goes three. (If Okudah goes three, then was Tagovailoa or Herbert really that strong of a prospect? Was Detroit really that dead set on not dealing down or were they getting no offers because everyone was comfortable that they’d not take a quarterback and not trade down?)

At this point, you have the New York Giants at four and the Dolphins at five, unless the Dolphins swapped with the Lions, which means that Detroit is on the board. If that is the case and Stafford hasn’t changed teams, then maybe at this point the Chargers could have their pick of the third QB, if that’s what they want.

Teams that could try to leapfrog them for a quarterback would be the Carolina Panthers at seven, the Raiders at 12, the Indianapolis Colts at 13, and maybe the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at 14 if they haven’t retained Jameis Winston and secured a solid veteran replacement. I would not say those are very worrying leapfrog options. If the Panthers have traded Cam Newton, then maybe they would, but is the third QB in this draft going to warrant such a move?

Given Telesco’s apprehension of making any trades and LA’s lack of extra draft capital, you’d think he’s probably just going to say, “You can have him.” Is there a position besides quarterback that would make him jump though?

Young and Bosa would form the most exciting edge duo in the NFL and it would give the team more room to maneuver a contract extension with Bosa since it would also signal the end of Melvin Ingram’s time on the defense. If not in 2020 (the Chargers save $13 million with no dead money by releasing Ingram, who has struggled to be as effective over the last two seasons as he was in 2017) then certainly when he becomes a free agent in 2021.

I remain unconvinced that picks six, 37, and a 2021 first rounder would even be enough to get a deal done however. I am also positive that Telesco might have all kinds of embolisms to give up that much in a trade.

Okudah and Casey Hayward would give LA an advantage at cornerback in an ever-increasing world of talented wide receivers. It seems certain that Sammy Watkins will exit the AFC West, but you’ve also got Tyreek Hill, Courtland Sutton, Mecole Hardman, and I’m pretty sure that a couple of draft picks will be entering the division, if not in the first round where the Raiders are concerned. With Hayward turning 31 at the start of the season, Okudah would represent a tantalizing future at a position where few teams excel.

Ask the San Francisco 49ers what the value of a CB1 moment against Watkins in the Super Bowl would have changed for them.

And should we get a clear picture of the offensive tackle rankings in this draft, with Jedrick Wills, Andrew Thomas, Mekhi Becton, and Tristan Wirfs all in the conversation at OT1, imagine how much more comfortable the fans would feel with an upgrade at right tackle in 2020 that becomes a foundation at left tackle in 2021.

Throw two more defensive players in the mix — defensive tackle Derrick Brown and linebacker/safety Isaiah Simmons — and now you’ve got eight more players outside of quarterback to consider for a trade up ... which is probably why you don’t trade up.

Unless the Bengals’ phone lines are open, moving up doesn’t seem necessary or applicable. Is there anyone in the draft that you do feel the Chargers “have to have” yet with their first pick and would you be open to the idea of trading up for him?

Poll

Trading Up...

This poll is closed

  • 36%
    Could Make Sense
    (141 votes)
  • 63%
    Makes No Sense
    (248 votes)
389 votes total Vote Now