Oct 13, 2012; Dallas, TX, USA; Oklahoma Sooner tackle Lane Johnson (69) in action against Texas Longhorns defensive end Alex Okafor (80) during the red river rivalry at the Cotton Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Should the Chargers Trade for a Left Tackle?

With the NFL Draft a few days away, the generalized logic seems to be the chargers want and need a Left Tackle from this draft. How much impact does a Left Tackle have on a offense? Well, all I can tell you is that the last time we saw an elite Philip Rivers, and a damn close to elite Ryan Mathews was when Jared Gaither made his salary push in the final 5 games of the 2011 season:

Philip Rivers averaged for that 5 game period:
282.6 yards per game
2.2 TD pases per game
0.6 Interceptions per game
(Rivers would go over 100 Rating in 4 of the 5 games)

Ryan Mathews last 5 games of 2013:
18.4 carries per game
102.2 yards per game
0.6 TD’s per game

As for the Chargers offense, it averaged 31.4 points, 408.8 yards per game for that period. Is it a small sample size, yes, but it can be understated how much impact it can have on a QB like Rivers, who makes his living in the pocket, to have confidence in his offensive line.

Is Eric Fisher, or more specifically Lane Johnson, as good a player as Jared Gaither on a salary push? Probably not, but they are close and by the time their 2-3 season rolls around they should exceed Gaither at his best playing level.

So where to get a Left Tackle? The odds seems to be dwindling with Oakland, Arizona, Buffalo getting new QB’s in the last couple of weeks. The probability of a second QB to be taken in the top 10 took a major tumble and with that everything seems to point that all 3 elite Left Tackles will be taken by pick 7.

So the big question is, do you trade up for one of the elite 3 left tackles? What is the cost? Well for argument sake I used the draftcountdown.com trade chart:

For pick 4 – 1800 points: pick 11 1250 pts + pick 45 450 pts + 4th rounder 80 pts: 1780 pts
need to make up 20 points

For pick 6 – 1600 points: pick 11 1250 pts + pick 45 450 pts: 1700 pts
probably get pick 6 + 4th rounder

Seeing this prohibited cost and seeing 2 disgruntled veteran left tackles in Branden Albert and Rodger Saffold not wanting to move to the 2nd class citizen position of right tackle for their respective clubs, there seems to be a solution that works not only for the Chargers, but also for the Chiefs or Rams.

The Chargers only have about 7 million dollar in salary cap space, so creativity with the signing bonus will be required, and some salary reshuffling with Rivers and Weddle is also an option. But in my view I would get more bang for my buck to take the best player that drops to pick 11 (Ansah or one of the 2 elite guards would be my preference) and package my 2nd round draft pick and something around a 5-7 rounder for one of those veteran Left Tackles. Rather than packaging my first and second round draft pick to secure a left tackle.

What is your take my fellow readers? I appreciate your comments on this my first article for Bolt Beat.

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Tags: NFL Draft San Diego Chargers

  • http://www.BoltBeat.com/ Peter Thompson

    Nice article, mang! I would be down for option two. Love that our commenters are now posting such great articles!

    • Sergio Quintero

      Thanks for the positive words, and much like you I’m for option 2, but I have to admit I find it hard to believe the chiefs will do business with the chargers.
      But a trade sure makes sense for both teams.

      • http://www.BoltBeat.com/ Peter Thompson

        I was thinking that, also. That’s like the Cowboys making a deal with the Skins… it could get greasy.

  • OP Bolt

    Sergio – I liked your second option better than the first. However, I have become enamored with the move down option to get more selections (even if one of them is in 2014). However they do it, the Chargers must improve the OL, but I would like to see options to allow more improvement/depth to other areas especially defense and receiver. I think we can get quality OL with later picks. Would love to see us reestablish dominance in the middle of the field on defense (a`la Jamal/Junior/Donnie/Rodney). As teams, including the Chargers, go more up tempo, you will simply need more/better bench players to rotate in regularly.

    • Sergio Quintero

      I think their young key defensive players (Liuget, Reyes, Butler, Weddle) are more than good enough as is to be a top 10 defense.
      But this OLine is so bad that it will shorten Rivers career, Philip is 5 years younger than Tom Brady and 7 younger than Manning. Franchise QB’s don’t grow on trees, and Rivers has proven that he can make up for a lack of talent outside, but the guy is Oline dependent.
      The chargers need 2 starters on the Oline from this draft and have to spend at least one their first 2 picks on that line.

    • http://www.BoltBeat.com/ Peter Thompson

      Let’s face it… The defense is the new core of this team.. build around it. But, keep River’s uni clean, keep his # of passes down, give him a running game… and abra cadabra, B!!!! He’s elite again.

      • Sergio Quintero

        Yeah pretty much, get the Oline working, that will improve the running game, and Rivers confindence. The rest can be spent mostly on the defense.


    The Raiders would be more than happy to trade down with them so that they can have Fisher. They definitely need some extra picks

  • tbell11

    There are rumors that OT Eric Winston might sign with the Cowboys and the Dolphins might trade for OT Brandon Albert. The chances are slim that both happen, but if they do then the Chargers can sit pretty at 11 to select OT Lane Johnson. I know about the Cardinals O-line struggles, but new HC thinks OT Levi Brown is elite so OG Chance Warmack is a strong option at 7 or a pass rusher. The Chargers should just stay at 11 and take the best pass rusher available if all three tackles are gone.

    • Sergio Quintero

      I sure hope the Warmack one happens, I can certainly see Warmack as a better player, but yes on a less valuable, more easily covered position.

  • boltingindiego

    Lane Johnson isn’t worth the 6th pick in the draft and if we do that trade we won’t be picking again till the 3rd round pretty big risk.

  • Raymundo

    Don’t know if any of you follow Al Fronczak’s mock drafts at EastCoast sports but he’s predicting Bolts trade up with Cleveland for L Johnson for our 1st and 2nd. Cleveland doesnt have a 2nd rd pick. As much as we need an OT, we can’t afford to waste a 2nd rd pick. Get one of the guards, T Austin or a stud for our D and pray we can get a tackle in the 2nd. We need every pick this year. Too many holes.

    • http://www.facebook.com/tuckerp1 Tucker Peterson

      i agree. we can’t afford to give up a 2nd round pick. get the best player on the board with #11 (a very good gaurd in warmack or cooper will be available) — which will help us on oline. then get a quality defender with 2nd round pick

    • Sergio Quintero

      If Eric Fisher is available at 6, I could justify trading up for him, he’s my favorite player from this draft. You get the top player for pick 11 & 45 I can justify that. Lane Johnson is more of pick 7-11 player for me, and they just have so many needs, I would prefer to take one of the guards and maybe trade up in the second to secure Terron Armstead.

  • BlueBoltFan

    I’m actually okay with trading up for Lane Johnson. My 1st choice would be to trade down in the 1st round, then trade up in the 2nd and get Terron Armstead. But that’s putting all the eggs in one basket. If you miss on getting him, you’re looking at Kyle Long, Justin Pugh, and Dallas Thomas who all grade primarily as RTs and Guards in the NFL. Also, trading up for Johnson allows the Chargers to get a potential top 10 player at a key position. (How many of those do we have on the team? 2? Maybe 3?) We wouldn’t have to worry about LT for the next ten years.

  • http://www.facebook.com/tuckerp1 Tucker Peterson

    chargers would have to sign these guys they couldnt trade. these guys are free agents

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001411678351 Doug Scott

    I think that chargers position is a mess and we need to trade down and go for armstead or trade #2 pick to stl for Saffold and with #1 either warmack or the big STAR !! now theres a guy who could make me forget about Williams