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Chargers trade up, draft Tua Tagovailoa in beat writer mock

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Alabama v Mississippi State Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

As we drift closer to the draft, the media has been floating the idea of the Chargers trading up in April to potentially draft Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa in hopes of landing their quarterback of the future. Not everyone is sold on Justin Herbert as a franchise quarterback and the chances of the team trading up for the first time since 2015 is seeming more and more plausible.

Daniel Popper, the Chargers’ beat writer for The Athletic, took part in a mock draft with the rest of the site’s beat writers who got to make their team’s picks while the site’s college football experts analyzed each selection after it was made.

True to the current narrative, Popper made a splash-move and traded up to #3 with the Lions in order to draft Tagovailoa and secure the future of the Chargers.

In this scenario, the Bolts traded their 2020 first, second, and fifth-round picks, as well as their 2021 fourth-rounder for Detroit’s first and a fifth.

This, in all honesty, is the best possible trade I have seen in regards to trading up from six to three. Popper was able to make it happen without giving up an extra first which is seen as a necessity to move up into the top-3. Here’s what Popper had to say about the move:

“The Chargers get their quarterback of the future without giving up a future first-round pick. With Tyrod Taylor already under contract for 2020, Tagovailoa will have no pressure to play right away and can take all the time he needs to get healthy after suffering a season-ending hip injury in the fall. The pick haul is a small price to pay to set the franchise up for life after Philip Rivers.”

He’s correct. It’s quite the small price to pay.

Following that up, here is what Alabama beat writer Aaron Suttles had to say about Tagovailoa and what the Chargers will be getting in the left-handed passer:

“The decision to roll the dice and bet on himself over the injury concerns some NFL teams might have about his serious hip dislocation seems to have paid off handsomely. Tagovailoa’s skill set is off the charts with uncanny accuracy, great anticipation, the ability to get through reads quickly and an arm good enough to be a starting quarterback in the NFL. The concern obviously remains the injuries. He’s had two ankle surgeries and a hip surgery. The talent to move around the pocket and scramble to avoid pressure is one of his attributes, so he should be able to mitigate his exposure, but his ability to freelance leads him to hold onto the ball a little too long. Tagovailoa possesses all the attributes of a franchise quarterback.”

If we’re being honest, if the Chargers truly believe that this is their year to pick a quarterback, then I think you have to do whatever it takes to land Tagovailoa. As good of a quarterback Herbert is, he’s obviously not enough of a “can’t-miss” prospect at quarterback. He has enough shortcomings to warrant legitimate unease and that’s not something the Chargers should want to deal with heading into a brand-new stadium. This is the time to have some skin in the game. This is the time to go big, because if not, when is? The year after you miss the playoffs and are back picking in the top-10?

I don’t think so.