Los Angeles Chargers Trying To ‘Sell High’ On No. 5 Pick, Examining 3 NFL Draft Trades


The Los Angeles Chargers hold the fifth overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft order, providing Jim Harbaugh and Joe Hortiz with a wide variety of options. While there is an opportunity to grab one of the elite wide receiver prospects, it appears few around the NFL believe that’s likely to happen.

Wide receiver is one of the most glaring Chargers draft needs in 2024 and the top of this year’s class features three elite talents in Marvin Harrison Jr., Malik Nabers and Rome Odunze. Either pass-catcher would provide quarterback Justin Herbert with a future All-Pro wide receiver, filling a massive void left by the departures of Keenan Allen and Mike Williams.

Related: Final 7-round Los Angeles Chargers mock draft

However, Harbaugh has also been sending a pretty clear message to the rest of the NFL this offseason. With so many quarterback-needy teams, the Chargers’ coach has expressed his belief that the fifth overall pick is equivalent to a No. 1 overall pick. It’s just part of the draft strategy that NFL insiders believe Harbaugh is using to influence what happens atop the 2024 NFL Draft.

While there is a strong clamoring from Chargers fans on Reddit and Twitter to see Nabers or Harrison Jr. brought to Los Angeles, it appears many inside the league believe Harbaugh and Hortiz will take things in another direction.

Related: 2024 NFL Draft wide receiver rankings

During an appearance on Saturday’s SportsCenter, ESPN NFL insider Jeremy Fowler reported that people around the league believe both the Chargers and Arizona Cardinals are looking to trade down and ‘sell high’ on their top picks. However, as of now, the expectation is that only Los Angeles might actually pull the trigger on a deal.

“Chargers and Cardinals are trying to sell high; high interest rate. Most teams I’ve talked to expect one of these two teams to trade back and it might be more momentum with the Chargers right now because they have a lot of needs trying to re-establish an identity under [new head coach] Jim Harbaugh. So, they’re looking to potentially move out. I’ve talked to teams who say they very much want to move out, maybe get an offensive lineman or a wide receiver later in the top 10-12 somewhere.”

Jeremy Fowler on the Los Angeles Chargers desire to trade down in the 2024 NFL Draft

Also Read: Revisiting NFL Draft classes for Jim Harbaugh, Joe Hortiz

Examining trade-down scenarios for the Los Angeles Chargers

Los Angeles Chargers rumors
Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

If the Chargers are trading down from No. 5 overall, there is value to the idea given the depth of the 2024 NFL Draft class. Los Angeles currently has one of the thinnest rosters in the NFL, creating a longer list of Chargers draft needs than some other teams around the league.

Related: 2024 NFL Draft prospect rankings

However, even if four quarterbacks are taken with the first five picks, Los Angeles won’t move down so far that it takes itself out of the mix for a blue-chip talent at a position of need. Realistically, the lowest the team might be willing to go is the 13th overall pick and even that means trading with the division rival Las Vegas Raiders and providing them with a potential franchise-caliber quarterback. However, there are a few scenarios that make sense.

  • Tennessee Titans (7th overall pick): Jim Harbaugh’s statements about the importance of a strong offensive line aren’t just a team-building philosophy he believes in, it’s a message to get some team fearful he takes the top offensive tackle. The Tennessee Titans need a premium talent at left tackle and moving up two spots, with Los Angeles moving down, would secure that. It could be as simple as dealing the No. 5 and No. 69 picks to Tennessee for the No. 7 and No. 38 picks. The Chargers could then grab Nabers or Odunze and use their top picks in the second round on a cornerback and offensive lineman.
  • Minnesota Vikings (11th overall pick): The Minnesota Vikings are the team most interested in moving up for a quarterback and with two first-round picks in 2024, a deal could be especially appealing for Los Angeles. The Chargers could still grab a top offensive tackle prospect at No. 11 overall then snag a wide receiver with their other first-round pick. Plus, thanks to the trade-up quarterback tax, Los Angeles would also likely acquire a premium future pick as well.
  • Denver Broncos (12th overall pick): If the Chargers and Denver Broncos are making a deal, it’s either going to involve cornerback Patrick Surtain II or three first-round picks. We still find it unlikely that Denver parts with its best defensive player, but Sean Payton is more than willing to sacrifice future assets to get his guy immediately. The Chargers wouldn’t win the deal in the short-term, but they can still grab a top lineman at No. 12 overall and they would have two future first-round picks of their division rival and it’s not like the Broncos roster is built to win quickly.