Jason Verrett could be draft-day trade piece for Chargers


The Los Angeles Chargers hold the No. 17 overall pick in next month’s NFL draft, but if the team isn’t satisfied with that, there could be a good way to climb toward the top of the board.

This idea came up through discussion in our comment section earlier this week, but when you think about it, it’s a very plausible idea. The Chargers could seek a trade involving cornerback Jason Verrett.

Verrett has been a solid player when he’s been on the field, but injuries have forced him to miss most of the past two seasons. During that time, the Chargers have fielded a good secondary, led by defensive coordinator Gus Bradley.

Trevor Williams stepped up in a major way last season but if he’s not enough to convince you that the Chargers would be fine if they made this move, then Desmond King should be.

King, chosen in the fifth-round of last year’s draft, was chosen as one of the Todd McShay’s seven-best value picks from last year’s draft. For what it’s worth, Dan Feeney is also on that short list.

King was terrific last year, playing mostly in the slot for the Bolts. He suited up in all 16 games and totaled 76 tackles for the season with one interception. That interception was returned 90 yards for a touchdown. But King brings another dynamic with the ability to blitz the quarterback. Perhaps his most impressive stat from his rookie campaign was his four sacks.

He did all of that while seeing the field on just 68 percent of the team’s defensive snaps, according to Pro Football Reference. With more time, he’ll be even better.

For me, this makes Verrett expendable. Sure, it would be nice to have him on the roster, but the Chargers will be able to hold their own against the pass even without him. What they couldn’t do last season was stop the run.

If the team really likes a guy like Vita Vea or even Roquan Smith and doesn’t feel he’ll be on the board at 17, a trade up is an option. There could be some teams in the top 10 who could use a former Pro-Bowl defensive back.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Chicago Bears could be looking for a new corner. The Denver Broncos and Oakland Raiders will be too, but Verrett won’t be traded within the division.

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The Washington Redskins will be looking for a new corner after the trade for Alex Smith sent Kendall Fuller to the Kansas City Chiefs. However, the Bolts would only move up four slots by making that trade. The Raiders are likely looking at both Vea and Smith as well, so ideally, the Chargers would need to get in front of them in the draft order.

The Chargers should call both the Bears and Bucs to see if there could be any interest. There might not be a huge gap in talent between Vea and Da’Ron Payne (who should be there at No. 17), but the chance to get a game-changing linebacker like Smith would be tough to argue against.

In addition to exchanging first-round picks, the Chargers could then see about acquiring one of these teams’ later round picks. The trade could look like this:

Is it likely? Not at all. This is just an idea. But when it’s draft season, the phone is always open. And if we’re honest, this Chargers defense could move on from Verrett and likely not miss a beat.