Chargers Draft

How pre-draft moves affect the Chargers’ 2018 season

SAN DIEGO, CA - JANUARY 01: Marcus Peters
SAN DIEGO, CA - JANUARY 01: Marcus Peters
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AFC West

Kansas City Chiefs:

Notable Moves:

  • Signed LB Anthony Hitchens, WR Sammy Watkins
  • Released S Ron Parker, LB Derrick Johnson, LB Tamba Hali
  • Traded away CB Marcus Peters
  • Traded Alex Smith, acquired CB Kendall Fuller

How it affects Chargers:

Where do I begin?

Trading away Alex Smith officially begins the Patrick Mahomes era in Kansas City. If I were the Chargers, I would love to play the Chiefs as early as possible. Make Mahomes face a fully healthy defense and throw everything at him before he’s had more game experience. Smith was a consummate game-manager against the Chargers, taking care of the football and extending drives. Mahomes is more explosive, but will likely turn the ball over more and make mistakes in his first season as a starter.

Signing Anthony Hitchens and releasing Derrick Johnson and Tamba Hali is both good and bad. As of right now, Hitchens is more athletic and explosive than the two veterans. He was someone many of us at Bolt Beat wanted with the Chargers. What the Chiefs lose is a ton of experience, as two of their best defenders in franchise history walk out the door.

Peters is gone, and that works for the Chargers well. One less guy to cover Keenan Allen, although Kendall Fuller is a good corner in his own right.

Signing Sammy Watkins to a big deal is laughable. He’s an outstanding talent who has never produced or stayed healthy long enough to justify that kind of money. Is he a good receiver? He could be. But he’s not going to find a lot of room to work against the Chargers, who boast four defensive backs (and whoever the new safety is) that are among the best at their position.

Oakland Raiders:

Notable moves:

  • Traded WR Cordarrelle Patterson to the Patriots
  • Signed WR Jordy Nelson
  • Released WR Michael Crabtree
  • Signed RB Doug Martin

How it affects the Chargers:

First off, I would like to point out that Doug Martin once had 272 total yards and four touchdowns against the Raiders, who just signed him. Phew.

Martin is sometimes a good back, and sometimes disappears. He has two seasons of 1,400+ rushing yards, and four seasons of 400+ yards. Where he stands in 2018, I’m not sure, but he’s averaged only 2.9 yards per carry the last two seasons.

Out of 40 RBs with 200+ carries the last 2 years, Doug Martin ranked:• 40th in success rate (38%)• 40th in YPC (2.9)• 40th in % of runs gain <= 3 yds (65%)• 40th in % of runs gain 5+ yds (25%)via & indeed

— Warren Sharp (@SharpFootball) March 15, 2018

Used as a complimentary back to Marshawn Lynch, though, he could be effective. All the more reason for the Chargers to address the run defense in the draft.

More from Bolt Beat

The swap of Jordy Nelson for Crabtree negates itself. Jordy might be a better deep threat, but Crabtree was a more physical possession receiver. Wash.

Denver Broncos:

Notable moves:

  • Traded CB Aqib Talib and QB Trevor Siemian
  • Signed QB Case Keenum
  • Let TE Virgil Green go

How it affects the Chargers:

Siemian needed to go, so he did. In comes Case Keenum, an offseason removed from being a hero in Minnesota. His play with the Broncos will define their season. The Broncos have not had a legitimate starter at that position since Peyton Manning. It remains to be seen whether or not they take a quarterback with the fifth pick, but I expect Keenum to be the starter barring injury or poor play (both possible).

Talib being gone helps the Chargers when they play the Broncos. Obviously?

Virgil Green is only significant because, well:

We've agreed to terms on a three-year deal with veteran TE Virgil Green.


— Los Angeles Chargers (@Chargers) March 14, 2018

All in all, some of the moves, I believe, help the Chargers down the line more than hurt them. Four years ago, the Seahawks and Cardinals would have been the tougher teams to beat. Now, they’re on the decline, and the 49ers and the Rams emerge as the harder opponents.

Many of the AFC West departures benefit the Chargers, and 2018 is the best season in many years to make the playoffs as a division winner. Think we have a shot? Give me a win/loss prediction in the comments below. Thanks for reading, as always!