Some Christmas magic came a little bit later than the Chargers expected but nonetheless, Week 18 of the NFL season brought with it some good tidings.
After an unexpected win by the Giants the Chargers are now in sole possession of the fifth pick in this year’s NFL draft. With New York facing the Eagles, it was understandably assumed they’d lose to the defending NFC Champions en route to a matching 5-12 record with the Chargers. After improving the 6-11, the Giants dropped just below the Chargers to the sixth pick.
One spot in the draft may not sound like much to the casual fan, but to us draft fanatics, it means a higher chance at a franchise-transforming player, or at least a better chance at trading back and still acquiring a blue-chip player along with stacking up more draft capital.
The Chargers could go a number of directions in the first round this year. The fifth-overall spot means they’d have a shot at almost any player they want that’s not a quarterback. It’s likely one slot too low for a shot at Marvin Harrison Jr. barring a run on quarterbacks, but the NFL legacy is expected to be a top-three pick by the majority of analysts.
The Chargers could easily nab another top wideout such as Malik Nabers or Rome Odunze, or even the top tight end in Brock Bowers. If they are primed to pick a cornerback, they could easily trade back, garner more capital, and still land Alabama cornerbacks Kool-Aid McKinstry or Terrion Arnold. Same goes for a defensive tackle like Illinois’ Jer’Zhan Newton.
At the end of the day, the Chargers being able to slide just a bit further up the draft list is huge and could end up paying huge dividends for the incoming general manager and head coach. It’s more for the team to offer, which also helps polish the unfortunate sight that is their 2024 cap situation.
That will always be a tough sell, but the right coach — the one truly meant for the job — will find a way to work through it en route to taking this team to where it desperately wants to go.