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Los Angeles Chargers Draft Day Scenarios

Congratulations! All your months of being a Twitter General Manager has landed you the opportunity of a lifetime. You’ve been personally selected by Tom Telesco to aid in the selection of the Chargers’ first-round pick. The first objective is to formulate a draft board in which the Chargers’ most coveted prospects are ranked based on need, talent, and team fit. While this is all hypothetical, a consensus big board can be created based on chatter among the fan base and results are taken from a survey created by one of the most popular Chargers fan pages (Instagram: @chargerspulse). Eventually, you will make decisions based on different Chargers draft scenarios. 

First order of business: ranking the needs of the team

Some might disagree with this list but I would argue that the Chargers’ top three needs are 1. left tackle 2. cornerback 3. tight end.

Next, the team should highlight prospects in the draft that fit their needs and are worthy of being selected with the 13th overall pick. This should look like… 

The top two tackles are Oregon’s Penei Sewell and Northwestern’s Rashawn Slater.

South Carolina’s Jaycee Horn and Alabama’s Patrick Surtain II sit atop the list of cornerbacks.

The unicorn that is Kyle Pitts sits alone at the top of the tight end hill this year.

Now, if we are to evaluate these players solely based on their talent. This is how I would rank them:

  1. Kyle Pitts/TE/Florida
  2. Penei Sewell/OT/Oregon
  3. Rashawn Slater/OT/Northwestern
  4. Jaycee Horn/CB/South Carolina 
  5. Patrick Surtain II/CB/Alabama

Some will die on the hill that the pick must be a tackle or the season is doomed. Some will ignore tackle as a whole and insist on drafting the best player available in each round. Somewhere in the middle will be the rare, yet sensible fan who takes all these points into account. 

Based on the combination of the Chargers needs and talent evaluation, it wouldn’t be far fetched to assume that the top of the board looks something like this:

Penei Sewell – Offensive Tackle – Oregon

The second most talented player on this draft board that fits the biggest need on the team. Seems like a no-brainer pick if the Chargers are able to select a player that can hold down the position for years to come (something they were never able to do during the Rivers era). Poor testing and rumors of immaturity could foolishly cause a draft slide. 

Rashawn Slater – Offensive Tackle – Northwestern

Sewell was widely regarded as the #1 tackle prospect for a year leading up to the draft. Slater has picked up steam throughout the process thanks in large part to his play against Chase Young. Sewell brings more prototypical arm length and size but Slater is the more polished prospect and could play any of the five positions on the offensive line. Sewell has an immensely high ceiling but when it’s all said and done Slater may end up being the better player. 

Kyle Pitts – Tight End – Florida 

I believe that Pitts is the best player in this draft and the best prospect at his position to declare in a very long time. Pitts is simply an alien. Pitts’ testing numbers improved his already high draft stock. While neglecting protection for Herbert in the first round may prove to be foolish, the idea of a generational passer connecting with a generational receiver may be too appealing to pass up. 

Jaycee Horn – Cornerback – South Carolina 

The first word that comes to mind with Horn is “potential.” My coach always says that potential means “hasn’t happened yet.” He reminds me constantly that it may never happen. Horn has the size, speed, and ball skills to be a great cornerback in this league. He tends to get grabby and this could leave him prone to penalties in the league. However, teams will look at his unlimited potential and take a gamble. The Chargers could be the team that selects Horn to fill their second biggest need. 

Patrick Surtain II – Cornerback – Alabama

A safe pick at the Chargers’ second-biggest position of need. Surtain is a very good prospect that comes with very few flaws. However, his biggest flaw may be the one that causes the Chargers to shy away. He has been knocked for his tendency to get beat deep. The Chargers released Casey Hayward partially because of his inability to stay with receivers like Tyreek Hill and Nelson Agholor as they seemed to consistently beat him downfield. Surtains’ floor seems too high to pass up on at 13, even with speed concerns. 

Trading Down

WHAT ABOUT CHRISTIAN DARRISAW? WHAT ABOUT ALIJAH VERA-TUCKER OR JAYLEN WADDLE?

To that I say, “What about them?” Christian Darrisaw and Alijah Vera-Tucker are what most would consider, part of the second tier of tackles. Unless the team falls in love with one of those second-tier tackles, trading back to the late teens or early twenties would be a wise move. As far as Waddle goes, he’s a very talented player at a position that isn’t really a big need for the team. The thought of Justin Herbert chucking the ball deep to a sub 4.3 receiver is appealing but the team seems to have a temporary solution at the speed receiver position with contributions from Tyron Johnson and Jalen Guyton

Now some may question the possibility of a trade-up for any of the top three players on the big board. There are many reasons why I don’t see that happening. First, the Chargers have about 60 rostered players. They must have a little over 90. Adding 30 players to the roster between now and the start of camp seems like a tall task that would only get tougher with fewer draft picks. Second, the draft boards are very favorable towards the Chargers landing one of the top three prospects or at least one of the top five due to the likely run at QB early in the draft.

This is a great Segway into the threats to select each prospect. 

Penei Sewell and Rashawn Slater

Atlanta Falcons

Threat level: low

I really do believe that the Falcons will either select a QB or trade out of the spot with a team that wants to select their franchise passer. There is an outside possibility though that the team may want to give Matt Ryan some more help on offense for his final years. 

Cincinnati Bengals

Threat level: high

This seemed like a lock a few weeks ago. With Joe Burrow campaigning for his team to select his former college receiver Ja’Marr Chase, the idea of Sewell to the Bengals has been called into question. Another factor to take into consideration is that the Bengals have bigger needs along their interior offensive line than they do at tackle. They may decide that Slater’s flexibility along the line would provide more value to the team. 

Miami Dolphins

Threat level: medium

Sewell would have been considered a good value pick at three. Trading back to six is a huge gamble that leads me to believe that the Dolphins are after a receiver that may have seemed a bit too rich at three. The Dolphins are another team that has bigger needs along their interior than they do at tackle. However, after the trade of Ereck Flowers and the move of Robert Hunt from right tackle to guard, the opportunity for the Dolphins to select either of the top two offensive linemen is still present. 

Detroit Lions

Threat level: low

The Lions have a need at tackle but nowhere near as desperate as their need at wide receiver and pretty much every position on defense. 

Carolina Panthers

Threat level: medium

With how much the Panthers invested into their defense in last year’s draft and this year’s off-season, I’d be willing to bet this pick ends up being a pick aimed at helping the offense. Before the Sam Darnold trade, I would have assessed the threat level as being low. However, it now seems as though the Panthers are going to attempt to revive the young quarterback’s career. I assess their threat level to take Sewell/Slater as a medium due to the fact that any pick for the offense would improve their team. 

Denver Broncos

Threat level: medium

Other than quarterback, the Broncos don’t have an outstanding need. However, they can improve along the offensive line and someone like Slater would provide the positional versatility that would fit along their line. 

Dallas Cowboys

Threat level: low

A team yearning for help on defense and an already solid, yet often injured offensive line doesn’t seem like a probable destination for Sewell/Slater. However, Jerry Jones is Jerry Jones and I will never rule anything out (except playoff success) when it comes to him. 

New York Giants

Threat level: medium

The Giants invested a lot of draft capital into their offensive line last season. I don’t see the immediate need for an offensive tackle on the team but Dave Gettleman loves his hoggies and recent rumors have come out that a trade-up for Sewell is a possibility.  

Philadelphia Eagles

Threat level: medium

This pick has to be reserved for a receiver or cornerback right? I genuinely think so but an injured offensive line that derailed Carson Wentz’s career as an Eagle opens up the possibility of Sewell/Slater playing for the Eagles. 

Evaluation: If you had asked me a week ago what my thoughts on this would be, I would tell you that there is a good chance that one of either Sewell or Slater would be there at 13. However, with more reports coming out that teams feel as though these prospects are too good to pass up on even if that means ignoring their top needs for a round, I don’t see it as likely anymore. Assuming Sewell were to fall to seven, the Chargers are rumored to have an interest in trading for the pick and selecting Sewell. I think it’s more likely that the Chargers trade up for one of the two prospects than it is for one of them to fall to 13.

Kyle Pitts

Atlanta Falcons

Threat level: high

There are three options at this pick in my opinion. Select a QB, trade down, or select Kyle Pitts. Ultimately, the decision will come down to whether or not the team believes it will be picking this high in the near future. The idea of the Falcons being able to move on from Ryan after a year or two and handing the keys to Justin Fields or Trey Lance is very appealing. However, a team may also want to select their QB of the future and offer the Falcons a ransom of picks in order to secure the number four spot. The Falcons could also believe that Ryan deserves one more shot at a Super Bowl run and adding Pitts to an already strong offense would be the spark they need to make a strong push. I don’t envy the position the Falcons are in having to decide between the present and future.

Cincinnati Bengals

Threat level: low

Reports suggest that the Bengals have narrowed their selection down to Sewell or Ja’Marr Chase. While Pitts is the better prospect, Chase’s familiarity with Burrow will earn him brownie points with the organization. 

Miami Dolphins

Threat level: high

I personally can’t see the Dolphins passing up on Pitts unless Tua Tagavoiloa’s familiarity with Devonta Smith or Waddle factors heavily into the decision. 

Detroit Lions

Threat level: high

Considering the Lions are in dire need of a number one receiver, Pitts’ slide may end here unless the Lions like one of the remaining top three wide receivers better. 

Carolina Panthers

Threat level: high

This is where I see the slide coming to an immediate halt. The Panthers need to surround Darnold with as many playmakers as possible if they’re going to revive the young QB’s career. 

Evaluation: Fortunately for Kyle Pitts, there are many teams in need of a playmaker on offense, and there is only one Kyle Pitts to go around. The Chargers will need to trade up in order to secure Pitts and they may need to move all the way up to four to secure their man. This move would require an exchange of high draft capital; making this an unlikely move.

Jaycee Horn and Patrick Surtain II

Atlanta Falcons

Threat level: none

As I said earlier, there are three options for the Falcons. Of course, if they trade back, cornerback could be an option for the team with an inexperienced secondary. 

Cincinnati Bengals

Threat level: low

Despite reports that this selection has been narrowed down to Chase or Sewell, the Bengals would be greatly improving their secondary by picking either Horn or Surtain. Therefore, I don’t think a pick at cornerback can be completely ruled out. 

Miami Dolphins

Threat level: none

A secondary with Xavien Howard and Byron Jones doesn’t have a large need for another cornerback. At six, the Dolphins will make a selection aimed at helping their young quarterback on offense. 

Detroit Lions

Threat level: medium

The Lions drafted what was generally thought of as a generational cornerback just last year in Jeffrey Okudah. However, in his rookie year, he played poorly, and outside of him, there isn’t much talent in that secondary. Almost any defender picked at seven would improve this team. 

Carolina Panthers

Threat level: medium

This is another team that could use an upgrade at cornerback. However, they have more pressing needs on offense. 

Denver Broncos

Threat level: low

The signing of Kyle Fuller has decreased the threat of the Broncos selecting a cornerback. 

Dallas Cowboys

Threat level: high

Jones and the Cowboys could go another year ignoring his team’s needs on defense but that just means the Cowboys will go another year not making the playoffs. Most people have “cornerback” sharpied at 10. However, there’s always a chance that Jones draws a big fat line through that hypothesis. 

New York Giants

Threat level: low

Before the signing of Adoree Jackson, the threat level of the Giants selecting a cornerback was at medium. However, after the signing and the solid play of rookie Darnay Holmes, this pick seems unlikely. 

Philadelphia Eagles

Threat level: high

It seems like the Eagles have had a need at cornerback for the longest time. Darius Slay wasn’t everything the Eagles hoped for but he did give the secondary some hope for the future. The Eagles can’t go wrong with a selection at cornerback or wide receiver.  

Evaluation: Two talented players and two teams with a high risk of selecting either prospect. While the chances of one of these players falling to 13 are slim, it’s the most likely scenario to have been listed so far. If the Eagles select a wide receiver, there is a good chance that one of either Horn or Surtain II falls into the lap of the Chargers.

Trading Down

This would be the worst scenario for the Chargers as it means they have missed out on their top five prospects. However, it’s a great consolation prize. There’s a good chance that the board actually turns out this way if one of the top five quarterbacks makes it to 13. In this case, the Chargers can begin to field calls for the 13th pick. Teams that I expect to trade up if they haven’t already are the Patriots, Football Team, and Bears. Trading back to a few spots and still being able to land someone like Darrisaw, Teven Jenkins, or Samuel Cosmi would be a great option for the Chargers as they all fill the team’s biggest need at left tackle. 

Final Decision

As the team sits at pick 13, they watch as the first three picks are likely quarterbacks. At four, the Falcons begin to field calls for their pick. The Chargers make a call and the starting price is the 13th pick and this year’s second, third, and fifth-round picks. Keeping in mind that the Chargers would have to outbid other teams likely trying to trade up for their franchise quarterback, would you pull the trigger? If so, you get your choice of any of the prospects on your big board. If you decide to let the board play out, you will either see the fourth quarterback off the board (which would be good) or you will see your third-ranked player (Pitts) get selected by a very happy team. 

As the Bengals select at five and assuming Pitts is off the board, you become worried that they may select your number one overall prospect. However, since you did not jump their pick, you must wait in agony as the Bengals ponder their decision. If the Bengals announce Sewell as their selection, not only have you lost out on your number one prospect, but your remaining top five players have been cut down to three, with seven picks remaining. If you want an offensive tackle, a trade-up would likely be necessary to get your man. Now if the Bengals select Chase, you may breathe a sigh of relief and feel comfortable letting the board play out. 

With Chase off the board, the Dolphins are slated to pick at six. The Chargers are prepared to make an offer for the Lions’ seventh overall pick if Sewell makes it past this pick. The Dolphins narrow their choices down to an offensive lineman and a receiver. While the Dolphins feel tempted to select their highest-ranked offensive tackle, they ultimately decide to pair Jaylen Waddle with his former college quarterback. 

The Lions have announced that they are shopping for their first-round pick. With quarterbacks left on the board, the Chargers aren’t the only team attempting to acquire this pick. The initial asking price is this year’s second-round pick however other teams’ needs for a franchise quarterback can drive this price way up to next year’s first-round pick. Would you pull the trigger? If you do, Sewell is yours. However, if you don’t, then there is a very high chance that he is gone within the next two picks. 

So you have decided that the asking price was much too high. At seventh overall, a team has traded up and selected one of the remaining two quarterbacks. At eight, the Panthers have sprinted up to the podium to announce their selection of your number one overall prospect. 

At nine, the Broncos have attempted to trade back with a quarterback-needy team however, after receiving few offers, they have ultimately decided to stay put and select your number two overall prospect. With only two prospects on your board left unselected, you become nervous since two of the remaining three teams are at high risk of selecting either of those prospects. None of the remaining three teams have shown a willingness to trade down. You are now left hoping that one of either Horn or Surtain II is available. 

Jerry Jones does the unthinkable and makes a selection to improve his defense. Surtain II is now off the board with the 10th selection. 

Now at 11, the Giants shock no one and select a hoggie along the defensive line. 

Finally, at 12, you are left not even hanging on to the edge of your seat, but pacing the room as sweat drips from your brows. A selection of Horn means that you must begin to field calls for the 13th overall pick. However, if the Eagles select a receiver such as Devonta Smith, you can escape the first round having selected your fourth-ranked prospect at 13. 

Hypothetically, let’s assume that Horn has been selected at 12. While it would not be ideal, you have now begun fielding calls for the 13th pick and your starting asking price is a third-round pick.  Of course, you can decide to stay at 13 and choose one of the remaining offensive tackles or, if you like multiple remaining options, you can trade back, net draft capital, and select whichever of the remaining prospects is available.

Ultimately, even with a limited draft big board, there are many ways that the Chargers can leave the first round feeling like winners. Whoever ends up being the pick at 13, let’s as a fan base, make sure to welcome the player as if he was our number one overall prospect. 

Adam Sadigh

Author Adam Sadigh

My name is Adam Sadigh and I am currently in high school. I play Quarterback for the Palisades Charter High School Dolphins. Football is my life. Not a second goes by where I’m not thinking of different scenarios that could alter the course of each franchise. Due to the influence of my dad, I became a Chargers fan at a very young age. I became obsessed with learning about every player and their stats. Eventually, I began diving into the game of football and learning about different concepts and game plans. I guess I would consider myself a die-hard at this point and I’m excited to share my excitement about the Chargers team with all our readers.

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