Possible trade-down scenarios for the Los Angeles Chargers
By Louis Gorini
The NFL used to have an offseason. After the Super Bowl, NFL fans would slump into a depression and try to fill the voids in their lives with activities such as March Madness, baseball and spending time with family.
However, times are different now. There is no longer an offseason for the NFL. Thanks to the NFL draft, football is now a year long spectacle.
NFL draft season is finally upon us. Over the next couple of months, fans will be bombarded by combine measurements, pro day results, player comparisons and mock drafts. With the draft comes plenty of trade rumors and smoke screens, too.
The Los Angeles Chargers are no strangers when it comes to trades during the NFL draft. General manager Tom Telesco seems to hate his fourth-round pick, as he normally includes that selection in a trade-up scenario to get his player. However, one thing Telesco has never done during his tenure as Chargers’ GM is trade down.
Last year, he flirted with the idea of trading back from the No. 3 pick, but he never found a suitor. So let’s take a look at what teams the Chargers could trade with in this year’s draft and what compensation they would receive in return.
*All compensation will be determined using Drafttek’s NFL Draft Trade Value Chart.
THE SCENARIO: As of this moment, the Cleveland Browns are selecting Myles Garrett with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. The Browns need an infusion of talent and need to take the best player available with their first selection.
That being said, Cleveland is also in desperate need of a franchise quarterback. The Browns have had 26 starting quarterbacks since 1999. Do not expect Cleveland to sit back and wait for a quarterback to fall in their lap at the No. 12 pick. Head coach Hue Jackson is going to be aggressive to ensure he gets the signal caller of his choice. With the Buffalo Bills lurking in the shadows for a quarterback (and holding the 10th overall pick), it is feasible to think the Browns are going to want to leapfrog the Bills to select a QB. This is where the Chargers and their No. 7 overall pick comes into play.
THE TRADE: The Cleveland Browns receive the seventh overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft; the Los Angeles Chargers receive the 12th overall pick and Cleveland’s first pick in the second round (33rd overall pick) in the 2017 NFL Draft.
Aug 12, 2016; Glendale, AZ, USA; Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (11) and head coach Bruce Arians against the Oakland Raiders during a preseason game at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
THE SCENARIO: After flirting with retirement this offseason, it looks like Larry Fitzgerald and Carson Palmer are coming back for the 2017 NFL season. The window for Arizona is closing at a rapid pace. Arizona has a talented but aging roster.
With the departure of Michael Floyd and the lurking retirement of Cardinals great Fitzgerald, head coach Bruce Arians is hard-pressed to find another pro-ready wide receiver to help Arizona make a final push. If Western Michigan’s Corey Davis (or Clemson’s Mike Williams) is on the clock when the Chargers make their pick, Telesco shouldn’t be surprised to see a 602 area code pop up on his phone.
THE TRADE: The Arizona Cardinals get the seventh overall pick from the Chargers; Los Angeles receives the Cardinals’ 13th overall pick and the 45th overall pick.
Oct 1, 2016; London, United Kingdom; Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay on the main stage during NFL on Regent Street prior to the International Series game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
THE SCENARIO: Stop if you heard this before. The Indianapolis Colts need to do something in order to protect Andrew Luck. Jim Irsay has thrown a lot to the wall, but nothing has stuck. He drafted offensive linemen to help improve the pass protection; he selected wide receivers and tight ends like T.Y. Hilton and Dwayne Allen to provide Luck with an aerial arsenal; he even traded for Trent Richardson and acquired Frank Gore to help take the pressure off of Luck.
Sep 17, 2016; Baton Rouge, LA, USA; LSU Tigers running back Leonard Fournette (7) is defended by Mississippi State Bulldogs defensive back Lashard Durr (25) during the first quarter of a game at Tiger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
Ursay is an ultra-aggressive owner and knows he cannot waste the talent of Luck anymore. With the exception of Todd Gurley and Ezekiel Elliott, it is rare that a running back gets selected in the top 10 of an NFL draft. Usually when a rusher is selected that early, they are a surefire thing and often make an immediate and significant impact on the team that selects them.
In this scenario, Los Angeles is on the clock and both Leonard Fournette and Dalvin Cook are both still on the board for the Colts to choose. Irsay knows he cannot risk losing out on a difference-maker like Fournette or Cook. He sees what an elite running back can do for a team (Dallas Cowboys). There is no way he lets the Carolina Panthers make a pick before him and steal his target from him. Irsay will not leave it to chance and decides to call Telesco to make a deal.
THE TRADE: The Indianapolis Colts receive the seventh overall pick of the NFL draft; The Los Angeles Chargers receive the 14th overall pick, the 48th overall pick and the Indianapolis Colts’ fourth-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.
There are plenty of other teams that could engage Telesco in draft day trade talks. But Telesco has said in the past that trading down is a tricky thing when it comes to the draft. He is not going to want to move so far down where he would miss out on a targeted prospect. He is also going to want to make sure he gets enough value for moving down.
It is all risk-reward when it comes to trades. That is why the Chargers will most likely not look to move further down than the midpoint of the first round. Chargers fans, let’s hear from you: If the Chargers were to get these offers, would you be excited? Or would you rather Los Angeles stay put to select the best player on the board?