There was legitimate debate about who the LA Chargers should draft with the sixth overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. A lot of fans wanted Tua Tagovailoa, some wanted Jordan Love and a select group wanted linebacker Isaiah Simmons. The Bolts ended up with Justin Herbert and the rest is history.
It seems crazy three years later that Simmons was in the same conversation as Herbert but that is how special he looked coming out of college. A freak athlete with insane versatility, Chargers fans were dreaming of the possibility of him and Derwin James in the same defense.
Simmons ended up being drafted eighth overall by the Arizona Cardinals and never quite panned out. Former coach Kliff Kingsbury couldn't find the right role for Simmons in their two years together. With Jonathan Gannon now in charge it was time for a fresh start. Arizona traded Simmons to the New York Giants for a seventh-round pick on Thursday.
The Chargers were never going to trade for Simmons as there is no fit for him on Brandon Staley's defense. However, the fact that Simmons was traded at that price should be an eye-opener for the Bolts. Seventh-round picks do have value, especially on the trade market.
Isaiah Simmons trade makes Chargers' Max Duggan pick look worse.
The Chargers selected quarterback Max Duggan in the seventh round of the 2023 NFL Draft. We here at Bolt Beat were very vocal about how much we disliked the pick and many Chargers fans disliked out analysis.
There were a few arguments in favor of Duggan. Some pointed out Brock Purdy's success as an injury fill-in without pointing out that he is a one-in-a-million type quarterback. Others pointed out the fact that it was only a seventh-round pick, and that at that stage in the draft, the Chargers likely won't find much talent anyway.
That seems fair on paper as it would be surprising if someone taken after Duggan ends up being this huge miss for the Chargers. But it was still questionable to use a draft asset on a quarterback that either won't make the team, or will take up an extra roster spot and force the Chargers to cut a promising camp player (someone like John Hightower, Elijah Dotson, or Stone Smartt could be cut because of this).
The big issue is this: the Chargers have never been a team to trade draft compensation for in-season help. Tom Telesco has only made one in-season trade for talent using draft capital and it came all the way back in his first season as GM in 2013. So he won't trade the picks for in-season help but he will essentially throw it away on a pick like Duggan? Or a pick like Larry Rountree, who is no longer with the team.
This Simmons trade — which is an opportunity for the Giants to find untapped potential in someone who had a lot of potential coming into the league — is a much better use of a seventh-round pick, especially for a team like the Chargers that is trying to contend.
It is nothing against Duggan himself. If anything, it is indicative of the entire thought process by the Chargers and how the team manages its assets. If Telesco wants to keep seventh-round picks then fine, but at least make useful selections.
If the team is going to throw away the picks on UDFA-quality players like Duggan then it might as well trade the picks for a flier like Simmons.