3 buy-low trade targets to propel Chargers' rebuild under Jim Harbaugh

Los Angeles Chargers Introduce Jim Harbaugh As Head Coach
Los Angeles Chargers Introduce Jim Harbaugh As Head Coach / Ronald Martinez/GettyImages

The feeling surrounding the LA Chargers is a positive one after the NFL Draft. Even though fans' dream of taking a wide receiver fifth overall for Justin Herbert didn't come to fruition, there's something to be said that they have both tackle positions set in stone for the foreseeable future.

Due to the salary cap, Jim Harbaugh hasn't been able to make many splash moves. Trading away Keenan Allen was a tough pill to swallow, but by restructuring the contracts of Khalil Mack and Joey Bosa, the Chargers will have a healthy cap soon enough.

Though LA had a strong draft, Harbaugh's work is far from finished. With the free agent market getting thinner by the idea, the Chargers should peruse the trade market for some buy-low candidates.

3. RB Dameon Pierce

The Chargers made the obvious decision to move on from Austin Ekeler. Los Angeles will establish the run under new offensive coordinator Greg Roman. Former Ravens Gus Edwards and J.K. Dobbins and 2024 sixth-round pick form an intriguing backfield.

However, if you were to build a RB for Roman's offense, it's Dameon Pierce.

After bursting onto the scene as a rookie in 2022 with 939 rushing yards, Pierce was supplanted as the Texans' starter by Devin Singletary. He played exclusively on special teams by the end of the season, proving that he was a terrible fit in Bob Slowik's outside run scheme.

Roman loves smashmouth football and Pierce thrives running to contact. Since he was drafted, Pierce has the fifth-most missed tackles forced per carry, including 89 MTF overall. As a rookie, Pierce's 84.8 rushing grade ranked ninth at the position, per Pro Football Focus.

Edwards and Dobbins are nice stopgaps, but Pierce could be the Chargers' running back of the future under Harbaugh.

2. CB Greg Newsome

Cornerback was a big need for the Chargers entering the draft. While they used two day three picks on the position, it remains a need. Kristian Fulton was a strong signing, but Asante Samuel Jr. is entering the final year of his rookie contract.

Enter Greg Newsome, who appears to be getting squeezed out in Cleveland. The Browns made Denzel Ward the highest-paid CB in the league and they're bullish 2022 third-round pick Martin Emerson, whose emergence has made Newsome expendable even though he's been excellent.

Like Samuel, Newsome struggles defending the run, but he's one of the best pure cover corners in the league right now. Still just 23 years old, Newsome is under contract through 2025 after the Browns picked up his fifth-year option.

1. WR Treylon Burks

The Chargers did well to draft Ladd McConkey at the top of round two. They have since pivoted admirably by signing deep threat D.J. Chark. Unless Quentin Johnston goes on a redemption tour for the ages in 2024, though, it's hard to have high hopes for this receiving corps.

There might not be a receiver in the league who needs a change of scenery more than Treylon Burks. In the last 12 months, the Titans have signed DeAndre Hopkins, Calvin Ridley and Tyler Boyd. They are seemingly phasing Burks, a first-round pick in 2022, out of the picture.

Burks' development has been stunted by injuries and poor QB play. He's played 22 games in two seasons with little production to show for it. A move to Los Angeles to catch passes from Justin Herbert and be coached up by Jim Harbaugh could be just what Burks needs to jumpstart his career.