The 2022 NFL Draft is one of the most interesting for the LA Chargers in recent years as there is not a concrete direction that the team will take. In 2020 we knew that the Bolts were going to take the best quarterback on the board and in 2021 we knew the team was likely going to take the best tackle, which happened to be Rashawn Slater.
This year is different, though. There are several different directions the team could take and it really is going to depend on what happens in the 16 picks prior. There is a chance that one of four dream prospects falls to the Chargers at 17, making the team's decision easy.
There is also the chance of the team trading down in the draft to pick up extra capital. Tom Telesco has never done that before, but I would not rule it out. Perhaps the least-talked about possibility is the Chargers trading up in the draft for a prospect they really like. If the Bolts were to do that, it would be for Charles Cross.
Cross the third member of an elite trio of tackle prospects alongside Evan Neal and Ikem Ekwonu. The Mississippi State tackle would instantly slot in as the team's starting right tackle and could give the Bolts the best young tackle duo in the league alongside Slater.
Telesco has traded up before and if Cross falls to a reachable point via trade and the Bolts do not expect him to fall to 17 then it would not be the most shocking thing if the team moved up. But that raises the question:
What would it cost for the LA Chargers to trade up for Charles Cross?
First of all, we have to find a spot in the draft where the Bolts may move up to get Cross. The only team that might be willing to move down in the top 10 is the New York Giants but that is a far jump for the Chargers and would perhaps cost too much. The Jets probably aren't trading out of the 10th pick as they will have the chance to take an elite WR at that pick.
The team to target is probably the Minnesota Vikings at 12. The Vikings need secondary help and depending on how the first round shakes out, they could move back to 17 and still get an impact corner like Trent McDuffie. Minnesota made almost the exact same trade last year for a team moving up for an offensive lineman and could look to do the same this time around.
Minnesota traded the 14th and 143rd overall picks in the 2021 NFL Draft to the New York Jets for the 23rd, 66th and 86th overall picks. This would not be as high as a jump for the Chargers, so the compensation could be less.
According to the Draft Pick Value Chart, the 12th overall pick is worth 1,200 points while the 17th overall pick is worth 950 points. This is not the end-all, say-all, but it is a good resource to see what kind of assets the Chargers would have to send to bridge the gap. In this case, the Chargers are 250 points away, which is approximately the value of an early third-round pick.
The Bolts could package their third-round pick with their fifth-round pick to make this worth the Vikings' while but after trading a second for Khalil Mack, the Chargers likely want to keep the third-round pick.
Instead, it is more likely that the Chargers would trade a pick in next year's draft. But since it is a pick in the future, a third does not have as much value. A realistic package that Minnesota could accept for the 12th pick would be a 2023 second as well as a fifth-round pick in 2022.