The 2023 NFL Draft is nearly upon us and LA Chargers fans still don't have a concrete idea of what the team is going to do with the 21st overall pick. There are multiple directions the Bolts can take, including moving off of the 21st pick altogether.
Trading down and accumulating extra draft capital is many fans' best-case scenario, especially with the draft board really opening up after the first 15-18 selections. The Chargers have never actually moved down under Tom Telesco but the Chargers GM hinted at that possibility earlier this offseason.
The Chargers' ability to trade down in the draft all depends on how the board shakes out and if there is any actual interest in the 21st pick. In theory, there should be but there external variables that will change by the minute that could influence a potential deal.
Perhaps one of the biggest variables is a potential DeAndre Hopkins trade. There is real speculation that Hopkins could be traded to the Baltimore Ravens and if so, it actually could have a negative impact on the Bolts in the 2023 NFL Draft.
How a DeAndre Hopkins Ravens trade could hurt the Chargers in the 2023 NFL Draft:
As it stands right now, the 21st pick in the draft is in a really good position because of the teams that pick directly after the Chargers. The Baltimore Ravens have the 22nd pick and the Minnesota Vikings have the 23rd pick.
Baltimore is a threat to add an offensive weapon with that pick so a team that is in love with a certain wide receiver (perhaps the Kansas City Chiefs with Zay Flowers) would theoretically want to leapfrog the Ravens and the 21st pick would be the cheapest way to do so as it would require the least amount of moving up.
The same can be said with the Vikings but with the quarterback position. Minnesota seems primed to draft Kirk Cousins' eventual successor with the 23rd overall pick, so any team that needs to get a QB would have to jump Minnesota to do so.
Baltimore really needs offensive talent, so the odds of them trading down if there was a great receiver on the board is slim to none. That would then make the Chargers the next team to call to usurp Minnesota.
That all changes if Hopkins is traded to Baltimore. Suddenly, the Ravens would have an elite wide receiver on the roster and would no longer be viewed as a huge threat to take a receiver. A team like Kansas City would no longer need to usurp them.
Plus, the Ravens could benefit from a team wanting to trade down for a QB since they are the team directly in front of the Vikings. It will cost slightly less to move down to the 22nd pick than the 21st pick, making the Ravens a more desirable trade partner.
If Baltimore trades a day-two pick for Hopkins then the team will probably want to move down in the draft and pick up extra capital. The Ravens would suddenly be sellers, which could undercut the Chargers' market.
All that to say, let's hope the Ravens don't trade for DeAndre Hopkins. If so, it could really hurt the Chargers.