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)?