Examining 4 Los Angeles Chargers Trade-Down Scenarios In The 2024 NFL Draft

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With quarterbacks expected to dominate the top of the 2024 NFL Draft, the Los Angeles Chargers are well-positioned to land a blue-chip talent to support quarterback Justin Herbert. However, given the needs on the roster, trading down from the fifth overall pick might be the best option.

Chargers’ general manager Joe Hortiz plays an influential role in this. As a lead talent evaluator with the Baltimore Ravens, some of the team’s biggest additions came from Day 2 of the NFL Draft. While Los Angeles has a few of those picks, moving down the 2024 NFL Draft order will give Hortiz more swings on a talent pool of prospects.

Related: Why the Los Angeles Chargers shouldn’t draft Blake Corum

Let’s dive into four Chargers trade-down scenarios for the 2024 NFL Draft.

Los Angeles Chargers trade down with Atlanta Falcons

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If adding one of the top offensive tackle prospects in the 2024 NFL Draft class is a priority for Los Angeles, it makes sense to move down just a few spots. Quarterbacks Jayden Daniels and J.J. McCarthy are widely viewed as potential top-10 picks this year and in this scenario, the Atlanta Falcons move up for Daniels.

Related: NFL star reveals interest in signing with Los Angeles Chargers

  • Los Angeles Chargers trade: 5th overall pick
  • Atlanta Falcons trade: 8th overall, 43rd overall and 110th overall picks

In making this deal, Los Angeles still lands offensive tackle Olu Fashanu with the eighth overall selection. Fashanu, viewed as a top-five talent before the 2023 season, was a bit of a disappointment last year at Penn State. However, the physical tools to become a perennial Pro Bowl offensive tackle are still there. Working with executive director of player performance Ben Herbert and offensive line coach Mike Devlin, Fashanu could develop into a high-end right tackle opposite of Rashawn Slater. Here’s what Los Angeles could do with the other picks.

Chargers mock draft after trading down to No. 8

PickPlayer
8th overallOlu Fashanu, OT, Penn State
37th overallZach Frazier, C, West Virginia
43rd overallChop Robinson, EDGE, Penn State
69th overallJunior Colson, LB, Michigan
106th overallAudric Estime, RB, Notre Dame
110th overallCade Stover, TE, Ohio State

Chargers slide down to 11th overall

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If Los Angeles stands pat at fifth overall, many have rightfully raised concerns about moving a left tackle to the right side. While there are success stories, it’s far from a given and both Fashanu and Joe Alt only played left tackle in college.

Related: Jim Harbaugh hints at Austin Ekeler’s future with Los Angeles Chargers

  • Los Angeles Chargers receive: 11th overall pick, 42nd overall pick, 2025 2nd
  • Minnesota Vikings receive: 5th overall pick, 2025 4th

That’s what makes a trade-down with the Minnesota Vikings intriguing. The Chargers move much further down the board, but they pick up a second-round pick in the same range as the Falcons’ selection and they move up two rounds in the 2025 NFL Draft. Considering this team likely isn’t competing for a Super Bowl immediately, that 2025 second-round pick is a strong incentive.

With the 11th overall pick, Los Angeles lands Taliese Fuaga. Over the past two seasons, he played over 1,500 snaps at right tackle and he’s the very definition of physical. He’ll stand out as a run blocker, which matters a lot to Harbaugh and Greg Roman, while providing the athleticism and length to hold up in pass protection opposite Slater.

Related: 3 tight ends to watch for the Los Angeles Chargers at the NFL Combine

Chargers mock draft at No. 11 overall

PickPlayer
11th overallTaliese Fuaga, OT, Oregon State
37th overallZach Frazier, C, West Virginia
42nd overallJa’Tavion Sanders, TE, Texas
69th overallKris Jenkins, DT, Michigan
106th overallJarvis Brownlee Jr, CB, Louisville

Jacksonville Jaguars, Chargers make draft-day swap

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For this exercise, we are using PFF’s draft simulator. Several teams outside the top-20 picks had simulated interest in the fifth overall pick, but for the sake of this exercise, we focused on a more realistic trade-down. In this scenario, it’s moving down to No. 17 overall in a deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

  • Los Angeles Chargers trade: 5th, 106th and 183rd overall overall picks
  • Jacksonville Jaguars trade: 17th overall, 48th overall and a 2025 1st

While this is more unrealistic than the two other aforementioned possibilities, there will be NFL teams outside the top-16 picks at least open to moving up for one of the blue-chip talents in 2024. In this outcome, the Chargers pick up a 2025 first-round pick and jump up 60 additional spots from 106th overall to No. 48.

Related: NFL teams eyeing trade for Khalil Mack

With Khalil Mack potentially being traded and Joey Bosa entering a prove-it year, edge rusher becomes a glaring need for Jesse Minter’s defense. Dallas Turner is the best pass rusher in this class and while this trade-down scenario doesn’t necessarily provide Los Angeles with more capital in 2024, it would give Hortiz a pair of 2025 first-round picks.

Chargers mock draft at No. 17 overall

PickPlayer
17th overallDallas Turner, EDGE, Alabama
37th overallZach Frazier, C, West Virginia
48th overallRoman Wilson, WR, Michigan
69th overallRuke Orhorhoro, DT, Clemson

Los Angeles Chargers stay put at 5, move down in Round 2

NCAA Football: SEC Football Championship-Georgia at Alabama
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Los Angeles doesn’t necessarily have to move down in the first round. One alternative is staying put at No. 5, taking Georgia Bulldogs tight end Brock Bowers and then letting Hortiz work the phone lines to stockpile a lot of Day 2 picks. The best option in that scenario is sliding down from the 37th pick.

  • Los Angeles Chargers receive: 46th overall and 82nd overall picks
  • Indianapolis Colts receive: 37th overall and 183rd overall picks

While this move would take the Chargers out of the mix for West Virginia center Zach Frazier or NC State linebacker Payton Wilson, there are still plenty of enticing talents at positions of need. Plus, moving up almost 100 spots also makes a significant difference in the caliber of talent Hortiz can land.

Related: 2024 NFL Draft QB rankings

Chargers mock draft if trading down in Round 2

PickPlayer
5th overallBrock Bowers, TE, Georgia
46th overallMike Sainristill, CB, Michigan
69th overallBlake Fisher, OT, Notre Dame
82nd overallJeremiah Trotter Jr, LB, Clemson