The LA Chargers drafted their quarterback of the future with the sixth overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, selecting Justin Herbert out of Oregon.
While Charger fans are excited about Herbert’s potential, we likely won’t see him on the field much in 2020 as he seemingly is slated to sit a season behind Tyrod Taylor. It makes sense, as quarterbacks sitting for at least a year has had a positive impact on past quarterbacks.
But this is coming a year after Philip Rivers leaves. Rivers would have been an excellent veteran quarterback mentor and the team could have timed it where the new quarterback could take over once Rivers leaves, similar to Alex Smith and Patrick Mahomes. Instead, they have a stopgap option in Taylor.
That raises the question:
What is the LA Chargers drafted a quarterback in the 2019 NFL Draft?
While it is certainly possible that they even could have selected a quarterback in 2018, the most realistic past year where the team could have drafted a quarterback was 2019. The situation aligned where we all knew Rivers’ tenure was coming to an end sometime soon and there certainly were rumblings that the Chargers could take a quarterback.
But they didn’t. They took a surprising pick in Jerry Tillery with the 28th overall pick, who wound up having a disappointing rookie season. At this point, Kyler Murray, Daniel Jones and Dwayne Haskins were the three quarterbacks taken, and it is definitely plausible that the Chargers did not like the quarterback in the draft.
So who would the team have drafted? It would have been the next quarterback that was taken, who was taken by a division-rival, Drew Lock.
Personally, I was high on Lock coming out of college. While he absolutely had holes in his game in terms of inaccuracy, his interception rate was still not alarming and he was a gunslinger. In the right NFL offense with the right weapons around, I thought Lock could be an above-average starting quarterback.
That is part of the reason why the Denver Broncos are a scary team for me in the 2020 season. John Elway made sure to surround Lock with weapons and after a promising five-game stretch to end last year, I think that Lock could be the quarterback who essentially ‘comes out of nowhere’ this season.
If he was a Charger then he would undoubtedly be slated to start this year over Tyrod Taylor. The team would not spend a first-round pick on him and have him sit an extra year for Taylor. This would have been Lock’s team, and with all of the weapons on offense and his big arm, it would have been exciting.
But how would it have impacted the rest of the draft, as well as the 2020 NFL Draft? The Chargers did not use Tillerly that frequently, despite defensive tackle being a need heading into the 2019 NFL Draft, so I do not think the team would have veered away from taking Nasir Adderley and Trey Pipkins in the second and third round.
I think we wouldn’t have seen a defensive tackle until the fifth round, which is where the team took Easton Stick. Sorry to the big Easton Stick fans out there, but they probably would have instead drafted the best defensive tackle on the board, which at that point, was Armon Watts.
Watts did not have that impressive of a rookie season with the Minnesota Vikings but with pass-rush ability, he could have absolutely fit in on the Chargers’ defensive line.
So what about 2020? We can assume that the 2019 season went exactly the same, as Lock would not be making an impact on the team and Watts would not have added any wins to the total as well.
The team would not be selecting Herbert, and instead, the narrative would have been protecting Lock for the 2020 campaign. I do think the LA Chargers are higher on the offensive line than the fans are, so I still do not think the team would have taken a tackle with the sixth overall pick.
Instead, they would have went with the freak versatile defender that fans wanted to see in LA, Isaiah Simmons. Simmons could play strongside linebacker, strong safety as well as safety for the Chargers.
That would have erased the Kenneth Murray trade from the draft and the team would have instead had its second and third-round pick. Round two is where they should have taken a tackle and they probably would have reached for Ezra Cleveland, who did not get drafted until the 58th overall pick.
Then, in the third round, the LA Chargers would have addressed the position that many expected them to address: outside cornerback. Cameron Dantzler was still on the board and would have been a viable outside option. The team could have gone with a defensive tackle as well.
The rest of the draft we will assume is the same. So in this alternate reality, the LA Chargers have Drew Lock instead of Jerry Tillery, Armon Watts instead of Easton Stick, Isaiah Simmons instead of Justin Herbert and Ezra Cleveland and Cameron Dantzler instead of Kenneth Murray.
What do you think about that alternate reality? Would you rather that be the LA Chargers’ current situation or do you prefer what the team actually has done? Let us know in the comments.