Life after Rivers could come sooner than you think

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Sam Darnold is a little raw, but he is the best all-around and physical quarterback prospect in this draft. Most think the Browns will take him first overall. No way the Chargers can land him, right?

Unfortunately, I think it’s very unlikely. But on the off chance the Browns mess it up, the Chargers need to do whatever it takes to get him. Not only will his talent transcend this team within three years, but he is also a USC kid. That could help fill up Carson, California right, Dean Spanos?

There is another Cali kid in this draft, and that is Josh Rosen. I think he can have success, but he is more Matt Ryan and Darnold is more Andrew Luck. One helps his team win and the other wills them to win.

The Chargers have built a top-10 defense in the league, with stars Joey Bosa, Melvin Ingram and Casey Hayward. The offensive line had a huge turn around and has been one of the biggest investments for the team the last year. They have a strong ground game with Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler. Keenan Allen is a top-flight wideout. Hunter Henry is the future of the tight end position. Tyrell Williams, Travis Benjamin and Mike Williams are great secondary options. Plus, a potential return of Hall of Fame tight end Antonio Gates? That’s a pretty stacked squad. Possibly good enough for a third-tier to win. But within three years, the Chargers will still have most of their important pieces. That’s when the Darnold era would start.

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What would it take to get him, though? In 2015, the Los Angeles Rams moved up from 15th overall to first overall to grab Goff. However, they had two second-rounders that year and the Tennessee Titans didn’t need a quarterback. But how about this? The Chargers send Rivers, the 17th overall pick and their second-round pick this year and next year. Carson Palmer was able to net a 17th overall pick by himself. Rivers can warrant at least that alone and the added compensation should be pretty good. Considering Cleveland also has the fourth overall pick, they could still draft a quarterback of the future and let him sit behind Rivers. Or they could take Saquon Barkley and draft a more developmental guy like Lamar Jackson at 17. Possibilities are endless.

The Chargers would then get the guy. They could attempt to sign a Josh McCown, Sam Bradford or someone else who could be a serviceable placeholder until they think Darnold is ready. It might take a few seasons, which would hurt their current chance, but it’s time to play the long game.

More thank likely, Darnold heads to Ohio. This means the Chargers address immediate needs and take a developmental flyer on someone (Kurt Benkert and Tanner Lee are my priority on Day 3).

While I do think adding a stud lineman or linebacker would help, we know the name of the game. You need a top quarterback. How often do mid-round developmental flyers actually work out? You want to win the #FightforLA, Dean? Get a home-grown kid who can take the franchise to the next level.