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Why I don’t expect the Chargers to take a QB on Thursday

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LA seems like they want to win now, and a rookie isn’t likely to help them do that

NFL: Los Angeles Chargers at Jacksonville Jaguars Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

The LA Chargers signed 31-year-old Bryan Bulaga to a three-year deal.

The LA Chargers signed 31-year-old Chris Harris to a two-year deal.

The LA Chargers signed 31-year-old Linval Joseph to a two-year deal.

Casey Hayward is 31 and a free agent in two years. Melvin Ingram is 31 and a free agent in one year. What part of the LA Chargers looks like a team that is playing to compete in 2022? I don’t see it and therefore I don’t see the Chargers drafting a quarterback with the sixth overall pick on Thursday.

With Tom Telesco and especially Anthony Lynn probably feeling on thin ice after a 5-11 finish in 2019, I expect them to be attempting to get an AFC wild card berth, if not dethroning the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC West. They are only one year removed from almost doing this. In spite of LA getting younger at certain positions by moving on from Philip Rivers and trading Russell Okung for Trai Turner, they’ve not made moves of a team that wants to start building around a young “franchise” quarterback.

They’ve made moves to make Tyrod Taylor look as good as possible in an effort to save Lynn and Telesco’s jobs, knowing that the 2021 free agent class includes Keenan Allen, Joey Bosa, Mike Williams, Hunter Henry, Mike Pouncey, Forrest Lamp, Desmond King, Dan Feeney, Denzel Perryman, Isaac Rochell, and Hayward. The next best way for the Chargers to win more games next season could potentially include drafting a quarterback early, but I would not expect any quarterback in this class other than Joe Burrow to do that. Maybe Tua Tagovailoa or another QB could be that special, but do Telesco and Lynn believe there’s a QB that special in the draft this year?

And do they not think that the players who could potentially help immediately — Jeffrey Okudah, Isaiah Simmons, Andrew Thomas, Tristan Wirfs, Jedrick Wills, Mekhi Becton, Derrick Brown, Javon Kinlaw, etc — are not that special?

The Chargers could potentially come away from this draft with their best tackle prospect since D.J. Fluker (regardless of Fluker’s eventual career, he was a fantastic prospect and is the only first round tackle that the franchise has taken since 1987) in round one and maybe a play-now defensive player like Kenneth Murray or Jeremy Chinn. (I don’t know why Chinn comes up for me, but I like him.)

Drafting Justin Herbert would seem to make it certain that LA’s first pick in this draft won’t help them next season. And maybe not the season after that, when perhaps at least half of those free agents are gone. And then what? The Chargers are building the roster again, this time under a new head coach? Are the Chargers going to be a 2022 team with Justin Herbert at QB, Robert Saleh at head coach, and a top-five pick with a lot of needs again? They could go with Tyrod Taylor and still be something like that but I think all the signs point to them believing they’ll be able to compete next year.

Either with Taylor or with one of the 6-8 starting caliber QBs who I think will be available during the preseason (Cam Newton, Jameis Winston, Derek Carr, Jacoby Brissett, Andy Dalton, etc) and who could be as good or better than Taylor, if they need to go another direction. Rumors on Thursday are the the Miami Dolphins are obsessed with the idea of getting Joe Burrow.

If other teams feel the same as the Dolphins, it means that no QB in this class is looked at as the type of prospect who can elevate his team while on a rookie deal, like Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson. It can be a massive mistake to pass on a QB like Mahomes or Watson, and we saw that for many teams in 2017, which is going to be a risk for the Chargers if they pass on a QB this year.

But it would seem to me that they’re planning to draft a position other than QB. If that’s not the case, then they must really feel that the QB they draft is special enough to win now.