Chargers pull off genius trade back in latest 7-round 2024 NFL mock draft

Ohio State v Michigan
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There has been a debate around whether or not the Chargers should stay put with the fifth pick to take a top-tier wide receiver or if the team should trade down to pick up extra draft picks. While those two things have seemed mutually exclusive, there is a dream scenario in which both are possible.

If the New York Giants' reported interest in drafting a quarterback is real then the Chargers can leverage that to get the best of both worlds. With the fifth pick, the Chargers are in the perfect spot to shop the pick to a team like the Minnesota Vikings, prompting the Giants to potentially trade assets to move up one spot to keep the Vikings from doing so.

This might seem absurd, but this is exactly what the San Francisco 49ers did in the 2017 NFL Draft with the Chicago Bears. In that trade, the 49ers received a third and fourth-round pick in that year's draft, as well as a third-round pick in the following year's draft.

This situation would be a tad different as the Giants would be getting the third or fourth choice of quarterback, not the first. A reasonable price for the Chargers to then ask for is the 70th pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, as well as a fourth-round pick next year. In return, the Giants would get the fifth pick and a seventh from the Chargers.

With that hypothetical situation mapped out, let's dive into what a Chargers mock draft may then look like using Pro Football Focus' mock draft simulator.

Chargers draft WR Malik Nabers with 6th pick

If the Chargers can trade down just one spot, pick up an extra selection, and still draft Malik Nabers then it will be one of the best draft-day moves in recent NFL history. Nabers is a legitimate franchise-altering wide receiver that the Chargers cannot afford to pass on.

If the Bolts can pull off the best of both worlds by trading down for an extra pick, while also still getting Nabers, then it will establish Joe Hortiz as one of the best general managers in the game.

Chargers draft CB Mike Sainristril with 37th pick

Jim Harbaugh gives Jesse Minter his best cornerback from Michigan's National Championship season. Sainristril is pigeon-holed into playing the slot (at least early in his NFL career) and that naturally hurts his draft stock as a result.

If it was not for that then Sainristril would likely be a a bona fide first-round prospect. Because of his ties to Harbaugh, and Hortiz's desire to take the best player available, Sainristril may be the pick regardless of where he lines up on defense.

Chargers draft RB Jaylen Wright with 69th pick

Jaylen Wright was the biggest standout from the 2024 NFL Combine and he would fit perfectly next to Gus Edwards in the Chargers' running back room. The Chargers need a more athletic, shifty back who can make an impact both in the running game and the passing game as well.

Wright is arguably the best candidate to provide that for the Chargers. If the team didn't trade down to pick up an extra third-round pick then taking him this early may not make sense. But with the extra picks to spare, the Chargers can afford to take the talented running back a bit earlier.

Chargers draft DL Brandon Dorlus with 70th pick

Brandon Dorlus was another NFL Combine standout who ran a 4.85 40-yard dash time despite being a 283-pound defensive lineman. Dorlus' strong combine may result in him getting taken earlier in the draft but if he is here with the 70th pick then the Chargers have to consider him.

Dorlus' bread and butter is getting after the quarterback and he could be a great addition to a pass-rushing front that is already dangerous. If the Chargers added Dorlus to the team's five-man front that already has Joey Bosa, Khalil Mack, Tuli Tuipulotu and Morgan Fox then it might cement LA as the best pass-rushing front in the league.

Chargers draft TE Cade Stover with 105th pick

The Chargers still need to add tight end help in the draft and the team should be intrigued by Cade Stover's potential. Stover has great athleticism for a tight end and has real potential to develop into an impactful pass-catching tight end with the right coaching staff.

His blocking needs work and that may naturally limit his play time in year one but if all goes as planned, Stover could be a legitimate TE1 pass-catching option in 2025 and beyond.

Chargers draft LB Cedric Gray with 110th pick

Cedric Gray is a boom-or-bust mid-round linebacker who has a lot of good moments on tape coming into the league but also has a lot of painful moments as well. If you don't want to see missed tackles or some poor reads on run defense, don't watch Gray's tape.

That being said, Gray's athleticism speaks for itself and his ability to be a coverage linebacker will get him a job in the NFL. The Chargers need to add a depth coverage linebacker and that can be the niche role he fits into his rookie season while also contributing on special teams. From there, if the Chargers can coach Gray up then he can turn into a legitimate every-down starting LB. But that is a big if.

Chargers draft OL Isaiah Adams with 140th pick

Isaiah Adams has college experience playing both guard positions and tackle positions. That is exactly what the Bolts should be looking for out of a day three depth offensive lineman.

Much like Jamaree Salyer and Jordan McFadden the last two years, Adams is a talented offensive lineman who is a bit too small to play tackle, which has hurt his draft stock. The Chargers should just bet on the prospect, not the size.

Chargers draft C Hunter Nourzad with 181st pick

Here is the Chargers' young center to develop for the future. The team signed Bradley Bozeman to (presumably) start for one year while the team develops a late-round center behind him. Of the late-round centers the Chargers can take, Nourzad may be the most intriguing.

Chargers draft S Dominique Hampton with 253rd pick

The second-to-last pick of the 2024 NFL Draft is an athletic safety that the Chargers could look to utilize on special teams. Jim Harbaugh had had to watch film on Hampton (who went to Washington), so that familiarity could net him this roster spot.