Why the Chargers should not trade down from the fifth overall pick

Texas A&M v LSU
Texas A&M v LSU / Jonathan Bachman/GettyImages

The Minnesota Vikings traded up for the 23rd overall pick with the Texans last week, during the start of the free agency period. Many believe the Vikings are amassing draft capital to trade up from the 11th overall pick to land a top-five pick and get a QB, who could be Michigan's J.J. McCarthy.

As a matter of fact, the Chargers could be one of their potential trade partners. In this hypothetical, Los Angeles would receive both first-round picks for the 5th overall. CBS' Ryan Wilson depicts this scenario in his latest mock draft, with the Vikings selecting J.J. McCarthy.

With this move, head coach Jim Harbaugh would reinforce different position groups with top-level talent. However, how convenient would it be considering the Chargers' offseason moves?

The Chargers must restock the WR room after Keenan Allen and Mike Williams' departures. The best receivers available in the draft clearly are MHJ (Ohio State), Malik Nabers (LSU) and Rome Odunze (Washington). Among the veterans available, Bengals' Tee Higgins (who requested a trade) and Tyler Boyd (free agent) stand out.

It's highly unlikely that the Bolts would trade for Tee Higgins. Not only is he worth present and future draft picks – possibly a first-round one – but he would earn $21.8 million in 2024. Though the Chargers now have more cap space, they still have to address other positions. Signing free agent Tyler Boyd seems more realistic. He would be worth $8.9 million a year, according to Spotrac. However, Boyd would be more of a WR2 or WR3 (probably behind Josh Palmer), since he had a down season in 2023.

That is why MHJ, Nabers or Odunze should be the Chargers' WR1 in 2024.

Chargers can't miss on this year's top-tier WR prospects

MHJ is tall and strong to beat any defensive back. Nabers is explosive and impossible to beat in a 1-on-1. Odunze is a special route runner with playmaking abilities. Therefore, they will all likely have an immediate impact.

Looking at the majority of mock drafts that have Minnesota exchanging picks with LA, we see that the "big 3" receivers would be out of reach for the Chargers. In the aforementioned Ryan Wilson mock, all three would be selected in the top 10, with the Chargers selecting OT Taliese Fuaga (Oregon St.) at 11th. ESPN's Field Yates, who has the Vikings taking McCarthy 5th overall, also predicts that MHJ, Nabers and Odunze would not be available by the 11th pick.

After letting go a future hall of famer in Keenan Allen, and one of Herbert's favorite weapons in Mike Williams, the Chargers should draft one of the "big 3". Selecting Marvin Harrison Jr., Malik Nabers or Rome Odunze would even be more valuable than signing a WR in free agency or trading for Tee Higgins. Any of them would be under a cheaper, rookie contract and the franchise would not give anything up for them.