The meat and potatoes portion of the free-agent signing period is behind us and though other signings can and likely will still be made, it’s time to shift our focus to the NFL draft.
There is perhaps nothing more fun to talk about that is football related than the draft, and it’s even more fun to talk about when the discussion revolves around the quarterback position.
That is a spot the Los Angeles Chargers haven’t had to worry about for quite some time, but Philip Rivers is 35 years old and though he has started every single game for the team since 2006, it could be time to look for his eventual replacement.
The question is, is this the year to do that?
NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah seems to think so, as he has the team selecting former Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson at No. 7 overall in the first round of his latest mock draft.
Of course, the Chargers don’t have to select Watson. They don’t even need to draft a quarterback in the first round in order to find a quarterback in this draft. Here are a few of the prospects that could be brought in to sit behind Rivers.
Deshaun Watson: The player that Jeremiah is sending to the Chargers is coming off leading his Clemson Tigers to a national championship after a shocking upset of Alabama. A true dual-threat quarterback, Watson has a strong arm and plenty of intangibles.
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However, he played in the vaunted spread offense in college that doesn’t translate to the NFL. He won’t be ready to play right away, not even close, but that’s why a situation like Los Angeles could make some sense.
Mitch Trubisky: Many analysts see this guy as the best quarterback in the draft and some even feel he’s a top five pick in April. I just don’t see it.
Statistically, his 2016 season was quite good with 30 touchdown passes and just six interceptions. But he was a backup as a freshman and sophomore, so his junior season is really all you have to go on.
He threw two interceptions in his team’s loss to Stanford in the Sun Bowl while only completing 60 percent of his passes in that game. He’s more accurate than Watson and probably more “pro ready”, but I’d let another team take this guy.
Nov 26, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish quarterback DeShone Kizer (14) throws a pass against the Southern California Trojans during a NCAA football game at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Deshone Kizer: At 6’4″, DeShone Kizer is an athletic quarterback that displays a pretty touch on the ball. He just never won at Notre Dame.
Still, he may be the best guy of the lost to draft and stash behind Rivers. There’s no guarantee he’d be like Aaron Rodgers—or even close—but his raw ability is intriguing.
Pat Mahomes: This is the guy that some team is going to fall in love with and draft way too high. Pat Mahomesmay have the strongest arm in this draft, but whether he can play at the next level is a serious question.
Graham Harrell, Seth Doege, Kliff Kingsbury and B.J. Symons are just a few of the record-setting quarterbacks that have played at Texas Tech, where Mahomes played. The school has always put up prolific offensive numbers and a ton of points, but none of those aforementioned names amounted to much at the professional level.
Davis Webb: This is an interesting name with a connection to California, having played quarterback for the Cal Bears after transferring over from Texas Tech. Unlike the names listed above, Davis Webb is not a guy that Chargers would have to use a first or even a second-round pick on.
Webb threw for nearly 4,300 yards last season to go with 37 touchdown passes while succeeding the 2016 No. 1 overall draft pick, Jared Goff. He isn’t good enough to come right into the league and start, but sitting behind a veteran like Rivers and then coming in could end up working out for a player like Webb.
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So, is one of these guys the future of the Chargers? Should the team wait another year for a better prospect to surface? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.