The LA Chargers have the 13th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft and there have been countless debates on what direction the team will go with the selection. Unlike last year, where quarterback was so obvious, the Chargers could do a multitude of things in the draft.
One of the routes that the team can take is trading down in the draft. The Chargers already have nine picks in the 2021 NFL Draft and it would not be surprising is Brandon Staley wants to load up as many picks as possible to help create his vision of what the Chargers will be.
Only the new free agents have Staley’s fingerprints on them. The team underwent a coaching cleanse and some big roster changes, so big changes could be coming in the 2021 NFL Draft.
We have explored the idea of the Chargers trading down with the New England Patriots after Bill Belichick’s comments. The idea of a quarterback falling to 13 and the Chargers capitalizing by trading down has often been discussed as well.
A new possibility has emerged in the Arizona Cardinals, who own the 16th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Keep hearing from unconnected people around the league that the Cardinals are trying to trade up for a wide receiver.
Could 100% be a smokescreen, but A LOT of people are saying this now
— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) April 21, 2021
Why the LA Chargers might be the perfect trade-up team for the Arizona Cardinals:
The Cardinals could be looking to trade way up into the top 10 to land one of the premier wide receivers. Both the Detroit Lions and Carolina Panthers have reason to trade down and own the seventh and eighth picks in the draft, respectively.
However, the Cardinals do not have a ton of draft capital and moving up 8-9 spots will be costly. If we just use the NFL Draft Pick Value Chart, the Cardinals would have to come up with 400-500 ‘points’ of value (keep in mind: that is just a baseline, trades often go over this value based on the market).
Arizona’s second-round pick is worth 410 points but they do not have a third or fourth-round pick, so the odds of them trading their second-round pick seems extremely thin.
Any team trading down that many spots is either going to ask for a first next year or picks in this year’s draft. I doubt the Lions or Panthers would take next year’s second to move down 8-9 spots. Arizona trading a future first is not worth it at all.
Moving up to 13 would require only 150 ‘points’ of value. Of course, this is only possible if one of Devonta Smith/Jaylen Waddle falls to 13, which definitely is likely.
There is a roadblock in the fact that the Cardinals do not have a third-round pick to trade, which would be the perfect value for this move up. However, the Chargers and Cardinals could pull off a double pick-swap that makes it worthwhile for the Chargers without taking away all of Arizona’s mid-round picks.
Arizona could trade its second-round pick and pick 16 in exchange for the 13th overall pick and the Chargers’ third-round pick. In terms of trade value, the Chargers are getting the better deal here (55 points).
As mentioned previously, the trade value chart is a good tool but is not the end-all, say-all. For example, in 2019 Denver traded back from 10 to 20 with Pittsburgh, getting Pittsburgh’s second-round pick and 2020 third-round pick. Denver came out about 100 points up in that trade.
If Arizona really wants a receiver then they are going to have to over-pay slightly, especially with the New England Patriots ahead of them. The discussion starts there, and at most, the Chargers throw in one of the two sixth-round picks. At most.
In this trade, the LA Chargers would move down three spots and jump 30 spots with their third pick in the draft. This would allow the team to draft a starting-caliber left tackle, cornerback and safety. All of which would be huge for the team.