After bucking career trends with his trade of Russell Okung for Trai Thomas last week, is LA Chargers GM Tom Telesco ready to shake things up in the draft? My suggestion has always been to trade down, not up, but NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah suggested last week that he believes the Chargers would have enough interest to move up for Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa in a deal with the Detroit Lions at pick three.
“I think it’s either the Dolphins or the Chargers. My money is on the Chargers trading up to get this pick and take Tua (Tagovailoa) because I believe the Miami Dolphins have a comfort level with either (Justin) Herbert or with Tua.”
The last time that Telesco made a draft pick deal was in 2015 when the team moved up two spots to grab running back Melvin Gordon at pick 15. A move like this one would be of higher profile and obviously more costly, especially in a draft that looks to be this loaded with talent in the top-10. But this exact same trade happened two years ago so we have some idea of the cost:
In 2018, the New York Jets sent picks 6, 37, 49, and a 2019 second rounder (ended up as pick 34) to the Indianapolis Colts for pick 3, so that they could select quarterback Sam Darnold. The 2018 draft was also talented up top with both non-quarterbacks — Denzel Ward, Bradley Chubb, Quenton Nelson went 4, 5, and 6 — plus quarterbacks Josh Allen and Josh Rosen going off the board soon after.
The Chargers also hold picks 6 and 37, but they hold no additional second round pick. Presumably, they might have to add in a 2021 first rounder in lieu of a second rounder this year and next. Is Tua over Justin Herbert really that major of a gap, if Telesco and Anthony Lynn even actually believe that LA must come away with a quarterback with their first pick, which I still very much doubt? I’ve already made my concerns with Tua well known, and honestly I have not heard much, if any, buzz around Tua coming from teams. I’ve mostly seemed to hear it from the media.
Not saying that Tua can’t go with the third overall pick or in the top six, but as of now he’s my number one candidate to be the focus of “the green room” on draft day for “falling” below what the media predicted. I’m not wishing that on him and I’m not saying he will absolutely be a bust, but it would not surprise me if teams had more concerns about Tua than the media does.
Additionally, trading Okung emphasizes the need for an offensive tackle rather than diffusing it so that the team can target a QB early, and I think the only place you can feel semi-comfortable with an offensive tackle draft pick is in the top-15. The 2020 draft class features four great offensive line prospects and if LA doesn’t take one early, they’ll be taking a bigger risk in round two; if they actually traded up for Tua and lost pick 37 in the process, they wouldn’t even be on the board again until pick 71.
I do believe that the Lions want to trade down. I do believe that teams will be interested in trading up for someone. I’m skeptical that that team is the LA Chargers and that that target is Tua Tagovailoa.