The New Orleans Saints and Philadelphia Eagles made a 2022 NFL Draft trade ahead of schedule, shuffling around draft picks in the process. While the trade did not directly impact the LA Chargers, the trade by the two teams who are sandwiching the Chargers in the draft order could impact the Chargers in the draft.
The Saints received the 16th, 19th and 194th overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft while the Eagles received the 18th, 101st and 237th pick in the 2022 NFL Draft while also receiving a 2023 first-round pick and 2024 second-round pick.
Prior to this trade, the draft order from 15-19 was as followed: Eagles, Eagles, Chargers, Saints, Eagles. Now, the draft order from 15-19 is Eagles, Saints, Chargers, Eagles, Saints. The Saints essentially moved up two spots from 18 to 16 and picked up an extra first-round pick at 19 for additional draft capital.
How the Saints-Eagles trade impacts the LA Chargers:
It is very interesting that the Saints did all of this just to move up two spots. Why not just trade for the additional pick at 19 instead of getting the 16th overall pick as well? It does seem like New Orleans wanted to move ahead of the Chargers at 17 and there could be two reasons why.
The first, and less likely, is that the Saints project the Chargers to take a receiver, such as Jameson Williams, and wanted to jump the Bolts to bolster their own receiving corps. While possible, with other receiving prospects, that is not as likely.
The more likely reason for the Saints to move up has to do with the quarterback position. While Jameis Winston is returning on a one-year deal, the Saints seem poised to draft their long-term quarterback of the future. Moving up two spots (and picking up the 19th pick) helps accomplish this.
First of all, the Saints now have two picks to leverage if they want to trade all the way up to the top 10. Perhaps the Saints want to jump all the way ahead of the Carolina Panthers and Atlanta Falcons to ensure that they get the QB1 in the draft (Malik Willis) over their NFC South foes. The New York Giants are absolutely in a position to trade down from seven. 16 and 19 would be enough to get that done.
It would be quite the expensive trade-up if you combine the two trades into one, though.
The other possibility is that the Saints wanted to leap-frog the Chargers because they had an inkling that the Bolts could trade down to a team that wants a quarterback. The Pittsburgh Steelers are a team at 20 that potentially could have traded up to 17 to leapfrog the Saints and draft a quarterback. Regardless of which team it was, the Saints moving up to 16 and potentially targeting a quarterback takes away a lot of trade leverage for the Chargers at 17.
Regardless if the Saints are protecting a team from jumping ahead of them or are planning on trading up themselves, that is one more team ahead of the Chargers that is likely to take a quarterback. While that could lead to a prospect falling to LA, it also hurts the chances of moving down and picking up more capital.
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If the Bolts were planning to trade down in the draft then they are definitely upset after this trade.