Jan 25, 2014; Mobile, AL, USA; South squad quarterback Derek Carr of Fresno State (4) throws against the North squad during the first half of a game at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Chargers can Stump Browns – 2014 Draft

Oct 28, 2012; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns defensive end Juqua Parker (95) pressures San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers (17) in the fourth quarter at Cleveland Browns Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-US PRESSWIRE

Oct 28, 2012; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns defensive end Juqua Parker (95) pressures San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers (17) in the fourth quarter at Cleveland Browns Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-US PRESSWIRE

3/21/2014 – by James Fedewa

The San Diego Chargers have many positional needs with this year’s draft. The Chargers can go in several directions by drafting a cornerback, defensive tackle, offensive lineman, wide receiver or pass rusher with their first round pick (the 25th overall).  Until the Chargers see which players are available with their pick, we can only guess who it might be, who it should be and who it will be.  Beyond the players that will be available at the 25th pick, another way to look at the draft is “who is behind us, and who do they want.” So what is the Chargers first round pick really worth? And is it worth a trade?

The Cleveland Browns have two first round draft picks, the 4th and the 26th overall picks (the 26th immediately after the Chargers first pick).  Cleveland finished the regular season with 4 – 12 record, have several holes on their roster, and most needs are very specific. Cleveland’s first and primary need is at the quarterback position and with the Browns 4th overall pick, they may have the opportunity to draft one of the three top tier quarterbacks (like Blake Bortles, Teddy Bridgewater or Johnny Manziel).  Then again, all three top tier quarterbacks might be gone by the time the Browns choose at #4. Or the Browns may decide to go a different direction with their 4th overall pick and wait to draft a quarterback with their other first round pick.  Either way, if Cleveland does not land their future quarterback with the 4th overall draft pick, and they aim for the “other” 1A quarterback (like Derek Carr) then the value of San Diego’s 25th pick increases.

Why? Well, the teams that did not draft a quarterback with picks 1 through 24, who still might need a quarterback, may be willing to TRADE ahead of Cleveland to insure they get a Derek Carr quarterback (or any other projected first round quarterback that may have slid).

So what other teams are looking for a quarterback? Approximately eight teams, but if Cleveland still needs to draft a quarterback at #26, then what other team would want to trade with San Diego’s #25 pick (the pick ahead of Cleveland)?  Houston, St. Louis, Jacksonville, Cleveland, Oakland, Tampa Bay, Minnesota and Arizona all need a quarterback (and possibly two other teams in the top 24 picks).  That’s ten teams in the top twenty-four selections that could draft a first round quarterback.

Of course, fans can think up a hundred different pre-draft scenarios, even with some of these quarterbacks sliding into the second round (like Geno Smith of 2013) or three quarterbacks being selected 1-2-3 right out of the gate)… but only assuming Cleveland did not draft a quarterback with their #4 overall pick, then San Diego can use their pick (with a quarterback hungry team) as the bait.

Or the bluff: calling Cleveland stating the Chargers have a trade offer with Jacksonville (or any of the other teams that still need a QB) on the table, would Cleveland trade up to secure a QB?

Could Chargers General Manager Tom Telesco turn San Diego’s first round draft pick into an additional 2nd rounder plus a 3rd?  Or even a 2nd rounder plus next year’s 1st?  Most NFL General Managers use the K.I.S.S method (Keep It Simple Stupid), but this years draft is immensely deep with very high quality 2nd and 3rd round prospects. This might be a good year for the Chargers to gamble with their 1st round pick, only based on the precise depth of this draft (and Telesco’s scouting department).

“Take what the draft gives you”… is the best way to approach a draft, but what would you do if Minnesota, Tampa, Cleveland or Arizona calls for your 25th pick (and want they want Derek Carr or even Johnny Manziel)?

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  • afroamongfew

    This is actually a fair proposition. A number of the top prospects the Chargers have looked at have borderline first-round/early second-round grades, that includes the following:

    - Jason Verrett
    - Xavier Su’a-Filo
    - Louis Nix III
    - Kyle Van Noy (though shading more towards a definite early 2nd round grade)
    - Deone Bucannon
    - Jimmie Ward

    Along with a number of other prospects I really love (Kyle “best CB prospect in the draft?” Fuller, Gabe Jackson, David Yankey, Marcus Martin), the second round holds a lot of talent to be excited about.

  • 619chargers4life

    This draft is the perfect draft for our bolts to trade down . I would do it in a heartbeat .

  • Sergio Quintero

    Excellent suggestion James, if any team is in love with Carr or Garopolo it makes a whole lot of sense, the first rounder’s contract if for 5 years and the 2nd rounders 4 years, even more motivation to get in first for teams a top of the 2nd round.

    Wouldn’t be weird if the Texans traded for Derek Carr, that I find a virtual impossibility, tough to sell the fanbase on hope with the brother of the bust QB.

    • jamfed

      I can see Bortles and Bridgewater getting drafted quickly (Texans, Minnesota). IMO: Manziel is too much of a gamble with an early 1st round pick. Maybe he’s very late first round pick. I feel that Manziel and/or Carr might be there at #25, and if the Browns don’t take a QB with that #4 pick, you know they’ll draft a QB at #26.

      • Sergio Quintero

        Manziel still is in the conversation in particular because Bridgewater fumbled on his pro day, I just can’t see only one QB in the top 10 (which also would be very bad news for the chargers). I’m hoping at least someone takes Manziel or Bridgewater in the top 10 and pushes some guys down.

        Manziel is total wild card, don’t know where to place him, I am sure Norvy wants no piece of him, with his totally structured offense.

        • jamfed

          Right! Norv might HATE Manziel. But what if Jacksonville, Arizona, Tampa all could draft a 1st round QB. Same with Oakland.
          In fact, I think Manziel has PHILLY written all over him.

        • jamfed

          I think my article basically insists the Browns draft a QB with their #4 overall pick, or they can get really screwed if they don’t

  • Julien Bélair

    that would be completely awesome !! Good observation James I didn’t think of that

  • Cgoodness13

    If Texan take Clowney then I think they’re the best bet to trade us

  • NENS4212

    Here is my 7 round picks for the Chargers: (All picks are assuming they are available at my projected pick)

    1st: Louis Nix ; DT

    2nd: Michael Sam ; DE

    3rd: *Trade this pick for DeSean Jackson* or DRAFT Josh Huff ; WR

    4th: E.J. Gaines ; CB

    5th: Cyril Richardson ; OG

    6th: Dri Archer ; WR

    7th: Donald Hawkins ; OT

    • michael walker

      rofl michael sam at second round? cmon dude yeah pro day helped him but enough for a 4th rounder at best

      • NENS4212

        He was the SEC defensive player of the year. Why would you NOT take him in the 2nd round? Saying Michael Sam is a “4th rounder at best” is EXTREMELY undervaluing his talent.

    • BlueBoltFan

      Switch that 2nd round pick to Kyle Van Noy or Trevor Reilly (or Stanley Jean-Baptiste or Pierre Desir) and you’ve got a nice draft!

  • C.Steele

    Very good observations James! I think there’s a very good chance that exact scenario plays out. I would be excited if TT accepted a trade and we ended up with multiple pics in the second, plus additional late rounders or a #1 next year.