During the NFL draft season, coaches and general managers always make it public that their teams are open for business when it comes to trading down. The ideal scenario would be for a team to move down a couple of slots, gain an extra pick or two and still be able to get their guy.
Every team is eager to trade down, but few are bold enough to trade up. It simply is too risky. A GM better be real comfortable (or desperate) if he is going to give up multiple selections for the possibility to draft the targeted prospect. Trading up can have a negative impact on numerous NFL drafts for a team. However, if done right, a team can change the landscape of their franchise for years to come (ie: the Julio Jones, Michael Vick and Eli Manning draft trades).
This is a huge year for the Chargers. As their aforementioned slogan “Fight for L.A.” states, the Chargers are going to have to be bold if they want to win over the fan base of Los Angeles. So between a desperate team and GM, the Chargers could be looking to make a big splash in this year’s draft.
So with the help of Drafttek’s Draft Trade Value Chart, I take a look at some possible trade-up targets/scenarios that could entice the Los Angeles Chargers.
Nov 5, 2016; Lubbock, TX, USA; Texas Tech Red Raiders quarterback Patrick Mahomes (5) throws a pass against the University of Texas Longhorns in the second half at Jones AT&T Stadium. UT defeated Texas Tech 45-37. Mandatory Credit: Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
THE SCENARIO: It’s the beginning of Day 2 of the draft, and Texas Tech QB Patrick Mahomes is still on the board. Mahomes is an electrifying QB prospect. He is a mobile, fearless gunslinger who has a rocket for an arm. He can make any throw in the book, either from a clean pocket or on the run. The former Red Raiders QB is extremely raw and will need a year or two to learn a pro offense and improve his inconsistent/shoddy fundamentals. Los Angeles knows it needs to find a new, young face of the franchise to replace Chargers’ great, Philip Rivers.
THE TRADE: Round 2 is the round where Tom Telesco likes to move up. Not only that, it is the same round where Telesco likes to draft a prospect to replace a current player (Manti Te’o was drafted to replace Donald Butler, and Denzel Perryman was drafted to replace Te’o). The Chargers have to get in front of the Bears in Round 2 if they want to snag their QB of the future. Telesco sends his second and fourth-round picks (38th and 113th overall selections) to the Jacksonville Jaguars for the 35th overall selection.
Jan 2, 2017; Pasadena, CA, USA; USC Trojans wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster (9) makes an incomplete pass against Penn State Nittany Lions cornerback John Reid (29) during the fourth quarter of the 2017 Rose Bowl game at Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports
THE SCENARIO: The Chargers stayed put in the first two rounds, where they drafted a safety and offensive lineman. Los Angeles has only one year left of an aging Antonio Gates, Keenan Allen cannot stay healthy and the Travis Benjamin project looks to be a failure. Telesco knows he has to give Rivers some more help these next couple of years if they are to make a serious run at the playoffs.
JuJu Smith-Schuster seems to be the forgotten wide receiver in this year’s draft. He is a big and physical route-runner who does a great job finding the end zone. The former USC Trojan’s style is similar to that of Dez Bryant and Anquan Boldin. So why is he sliding down the draft board to Round 3? Like Boldin and Bryant, Smith-Schuster lacks elite speed which seems to be scaring away teams.
THE TRADE: Telesco is clamoring at the idea of adding a popular Los Angeles college football star. JuJu would be another great weapon for Rivers and the Chargers’ offense. Telesco has to move ahead of San Francisco, as they are in dire need of a receiver of Smith-Schuster’s talents. Los Angeles gives up their third and fifth-round picks ( 71st and 151st overall selections) to a team that covets extra draft picks, the Cleveland Browns, for the 65th overall selection. Once again, Telesco steals an underrated wide receiver in the third round of a draft.
Sep 17, 2016; Auburn, AL, USA; Texas A&M Aggies lineman Myles Garrett (15) tackles Auburn Tigers quarterback Sean White (13) during the first quarter at Jordan Hare Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Reed-USA TODAY Sports
THE SCENARIO: There comes a time when an NFL franchise needs to make a bold move; sometimes out of desperation, other times out of pure obsession. Melvin Ingram priced himself out of Los Angeles, and now there is a gaping hole to fill on defense. The Los Angeles Chargers are facing a critical time, as Telesco is at a fork in the road. On one end, Telesco sees the Chargers playing second fiddle to the Los Angeles Rams and him ultimately losing his job. On the other end, the Chargers GM makes a once-in-a-lifetime bold trade (like the Atlanta Falcons did back in 2011) that helps propel them to consistent contention.
Telesco decides to go all in to make a huge splash in the draft and bring some positive attention to the Chargers.
THE TRADE: The Los Angeles Chargers trade their 2017 first-round pick, third-round pick, 2018 first-round pick and LB Jeremiah Attaochu to the Cleveland Browns for the 2017 first overall pick of the draft and a 2018 fourth-round pick. Cleveland moves down the draft slightly while getting much-needed additional picks to help the rebuilding of the Browns franchise. The Chargers get Myles Garrett, the best pass-rusher and edge defender in the 2017 NFL Draft, and pair him up with the 2016 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, Joey Bosa. Chargers fans will be asking what was that guy we lost to free agency again, Melvin who?
Los Angeles saves money by letting Ingram walk and can use those savings to address other areas of need. Lastly, because the Chargers “lost” Ingram to free agency, they get awarded a 2018 third-round compensatory pick.
So Chargers fans, what trade would you want your team to make? Do you want Los Angeles to go all in and get Garrett? Or would you rather a more subtle move, like the Juju trade? Or is there another trade you want to see TT make on draft day? Sound off in the comments below!