Draft day trade rumors continue to swirl, with the San Diego Chargers being linked to possible 1st round deals with the Dolphins, Rams, Texans, and Redskins. Pure speculation, or a sign of some big moves ahead for the Bolts? It may not be a question of if GM AJ Smith will make a deal, but how bold will that deal be?
AJ Smith loves his “impact” players, the guys he falls in love with for their athletic ability, strong character, and leadership skills. In 2007, he traded his 2nd and 3rd round picks, as well as his 2008 3rd and 5th round picks for the right to move up and draft S Eric Weddle. In 2008, AJ traded his 3rd round selection, as well as his 2009 2nd and 5th round picks to move up and draft FB Jacob Hester. After selecting Hester, AJ simply stated, “This is the guy we wanted.” The selection of Ryan Mathews in 2010 followed a similar pattern, with AJ giving up his 1st and 2nd round selections, as well as a 4th round pick, for the right to move up 16 spots and select the Fresno State running back.
None of the picks given up by the Chargers in these deals were later used to draft impact players.
Since AJ is obviously not afraid to pull the trigger on a draft day trade for that “impact” player, that difference maker he has to have, what leads anyone to believe that he will stand pat at #18 in the first round? This team will be a playoff contender for years to come, barring another historic special teams meltdown. If there is a must-have, impact player to be had, it’s almost a given that the Chargers will look to deal.
Since most impact players are found in the first round of the draft, who might the Chargers have their eye on? There is a lot of talk swirling around defensive ends, where it is known the Chargers would like to improve. JJ Watt and Cameron Jordan are the players most tied to the Chargers in the first round, and both would be solid additions to their roster. But on game day, would they actually make a significantly larger impact than a Muhammad Wilkerson or Cameron Heyward, both of whom could likely be had with the Chargers #18 overall pick?
The Chargers would likely have to move up to the Rams slot at #14 overall, or, if you believe the rumors, even the Redskins slot at #10 overall to guarantee that they can get that difference maker, whether AJ thinks that player is Watt, Jordan, or someone else. Using the draft value chart as a loose guide, the Chargers would likely have to combine their 1st round pick and 2nd round pick, #61 overall, to make a trade with the Rams. The Redskins would likely demand the Chargers’ 1st rounder and #50 overall 2nd round pick, quite a bit more costly in my eyes.
How much is Watt or Jordan really worth?
If the Chargers are going to make a move for an impact player, why not make a bold move? The Chargers have three selections in the first 61 picks…why not use them to obtain a true impact player?
Depending on how the first round goes, the Cardinals #5 overall selection could be the turning point in the draft. It is quite possible that either top ranked cornerback Patrick Peterson, top ranked linebacker Von Miller, or one of the top ranked defensive end/OLB’s like Robert Quinn will be available when the 5th pick rolls around. In fact, you might have all three of those guys to choose from with that 5th pick. If you want an impact player to immediately provide an upgrade on defense and push the Chargers back into the playoffs, could you find three better players from whom to choose?
The 5th overall pick (valued at 1700 on the trade value chart) would likely cost you at least your 1st and both 2nd round picks (valued at 1592 combined). That may not be enough, although a team desperate for players should have a hard time saying no. But if the Cardinals say no to that deal, you may still be able to convince the Browns at #6 overall (valued at 1600) or Titans at #8 overall (valued at 1400) to accept the offer, depending on who is available.
If Peterson, Miller, and Quinn get selected, I would be less inclined to pursue such a deal.
It’s worth thinking about. Any of these three players could be difference makers on the Chargers’ defense. Impact players. I’m betting AJ Smith is already considering this scenario. Would you?
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