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Bolts reinforce trenches after trading back on Day 1 in new mock

Adding local talent is a quick way to add fans.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 07 Stanford at USC Photo by Jordon Kelly/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The idea of the Chargers trading back in the first round of this year’s draft was talked about a lot more when the team was set to pick in the 6th-9th overall range. Now that they pick at #13, they sit at a much better spit to avoid reaching on top talent at a position of need which means the need to trade back no longer seems as dire.

However, in a new mock posted at The Draft Network by Brentley Weissman — a former scout for the Chargers — the Bolts trade back with the Dolphins to #18, receiving the 35th-overall pick and pick #203, as well.

After trading back, the Chargers were still able to land one of the most-versatile offensive lineman in this year’s class in USC’s Alijah Vera-Tucker. Here’s what Weissman had to say about his selection for his former employer:

“The Chargers were able to trade down, acquire an extra second, and still get their guy in Vera-Tucker. The Bolts need offensive line help and must make protecting Justin Herbert a priority. Vera-Tucker can play either left tackle or inside at guard, and while he projects better inside, this versatility is something the Chargers can surely use as they look to put the best five players in front of Herbert.”

Vera-Tucker is in my top-five for lineman I would love to see the Chargers draft in the first round of this year’s draft. They need more than just a left tackle. As important as that position is, Vera-Tucker’s versatility gives the team flexibility to build the rest of the line around him, Bulaga, and likely a combination of SamTevi/Forrest Lamp/Dan Feeney that will be re-signed to help keep some level of depth up front.

The 6’4, 315-pound Vera-Tucker, who started every game for the Trojans at left tackle in 2020, was named a First-Team All-Pac 12 selection. He was also this year’s honoree for the Morris Trophy, given to the best offensive or defensive lineman in the Pac-12 which is voted on by the fellow lineman they compete against all year long.

While still a very viable left tackle, Vera-Tucker’s position at the NFL is most-certainly going to be at guard. He’s built as sturdily as they come with powerful hands and exceptional functional mobility and strength.

This isn’t the first time the Chargers have been matched with Vera-Tucker, but if this scenario were to take place, how much more ideal is this pick at #18 compared to #13? Is it worth the risk to gain that extra second-round pick? I’m personally torn on potentially missing out on a top lineman, but I want to hear your thoughts on the matter.