Can Chargers find Philip Rivers’ future replacement in 2017 draft?


The Los Angeles Chargers need to think about life after Philip Rivers.

Rivers will be entering his 14th season at the age of 35. He has been the starting quarterback for the Chargers in 11 of his 13 seasons and impressively has never missed a game. The former first-round pick has been the face of the franchise for the Chargers, but it is time to look for his future predecessor in the 2017 NFL draft.

The 2017 quarterback draft class is not the strongest but does have three quarterbacks who will likely be Day 1 selections in a quarterback-needy NFL. Deshaun Watson of Clemson, Mitch Tribusky of UNC and DeShone Kizer of Notre Dame will most likely hear their names called on the first day. The Chargers hold the No. 7 overall pick in the draft, and the names listed above might not be worth that selection, especially if Rivers is still under contract.

That said, let’s take a look at a couple of intriguing quarterbacks who could be on the board when the Chargers are selecting on Day 2 or 3. Patrick Mahomes II of Texas Tech, Brad Kaaya of Miami and Davis Webb of California are all exciting in their own way and should be considered by Tom Telesco and Co. to potentially be the predecessor to Rivers.

There is one name of those three who must be atop their board following Watson, Tribusky and Kizer, and that is Mahomes.

NCAA Football: Texas Tech at Arizona State
NCAA Football: Texas Tech at Arizona State /

Mahomes led the FBS in passing yards with 5,052, while throwing for 41 touchdowns against 10 interceptions. He has the size you look for in a quarterback, as he is listed at 6-foot-3, 230 pounds, as well as the mobility to escape pressure. He rushed for 12 touchdowns, giving him 53 total touchdowns in 2016.

Mahomes makes throws that often make your jaw drop, but he does them in an unorthodox way. He has more impressive throws than many former first-round picks had in their collegiate careers. Here is an example of a very impressive throw he made against Louisiana Tech that reminds me of Packers’ Aaron Rodgers and his ability to escape pressure and sling it down the field:

Mahomes has a cannon for an arm. When watching him on tape, he doesn’t have the best footwork or mechanics, but that’s just who he is. He has many similarities to Matthew Stafford. Here is an example of Mahomes’ arm strength and his ability to throw a perfect pass down the field off his back foot:

I do believe teams will have very different draft grades on Mahomes because of his unorthodox style. That being said, there is no denying his pure athletic ability and arm strength. He is the son of former professional pitcher Pat Mahomes, who played 11 years in the MLB. Mahomes shows off his arm strength frequently, and here is an example of a perfectly thrown strike down the sideline:

Mahomes has the ability to fit the football into small windows because of his arm strength. Take a look below:

The biggest question with Mahomes will be whether or not he can adapt from Texas Tech’s Air Raid offense to more of a pro-style offense in the NFL. Sitting behind Rivers for a couple of years will be a great way to learn the ins and outs of a pro-style offense.

Mahomes said he received a second-round grade from the NFL Draft Advisory Committee, according to Drafting Mahomes in the second round would be well worth the investment for the Los Angeles Chargers.

*Video credit: Draft Breakdown/NCAA