What are the Chargers going to do today as the NFL draft approaches?
Keep the pick and take a blue-chip, can’t miss prospect? Trade down a couple of slots, get an additional pick by dropping back? Or pull off a mega deal, drop way back, and get lots of picks in an extraordinarily deep draft
Chargers history, in case fans forget, has involved 3-big draft day trades of recent vintage.
The Chargers downward spiral may be pinpointed by the acquisition of Ryan Leaf, but the downturn of the franchise, was really a by product of age and injuries years before. The end of the Dan Fouts era, great offense-little defense, brought on a terrible malaise.
The team went thru 18-different quarterbacks on their roster from the day Fouts retired, till the day then GM-Bobby Beathard made a daring deal to acquire young quarterback Stan Humphries of the Redskins. Humphries would lead the Chargers to the Super Bowl, but his career was ended by a serious concussion a couple of years later in Cincinnati.
From Fouts last pass to Humphries first, the Chargers QB roster included Jim McMahon-Billy Joe Tolliver-David Archer-Mark Malone-John Friesz-Babe Laufenberg-Mark Vlasic-Rick Neuhisel-Mike Kelly-Mark Herrmann-Tom Flick-Bob Gagliano. That is some cross-section of desperation.
The post-Humphries list included Gale Gilbert-Sean Salisbury-Jim Everett-Craig Whelihan and Todd Philcox, and the misery was gruesome, but then got worse..
It brought San Diego to a big trade, the deal up to acquire the 2nd pick in the 1998-draft, with hopes they would get either Peyton Manning or Ryan Leaf.
The blockbuster trade blew up in the face of both the Bolts and the Arizona Cardinals. Manning went number one to the Colts, and you know that history, Leaf was number two, and the Cardinals got decked by injuries and attitudes. The two first round picks Arizona got in the deal, bombed. Pass rusher Andre Wadsworth suffered two knee injuries, and was done within two years. And wide receiver David Boston became an off-field drama distraction with drugs and attitude, and never lived up to his hype.
Leaf was the epitome of non-professionalism, the spoiled-brat syndrome. His career highlite, the (1-15) passing day with all those turnovers in Kansans City. That or the day he and Craig Whelihan combined for 6-interceptions at the Kingdome in Seattle.
The post-Leaf era included Doug Flutie-Jim Harbaugh-Eric Kramer and Moses Moreno. It led to the arrival of Drew Brees and the onset of two sigfnicant trades that would forever change the face of the franchise.
The Chargers engineered a blockbuster, dealing out of the top slot, thanks to that (1-15) record, and bypassing the chance at Michael Vick. The pick went to Atlanta in 2001. The Bolts got the 5th choice that would become LaDainian Tomlison, along with a 2nd, 3rd and receiver Tim Dwight. The rest is history about our version of LT.
As the franchise grew, came another quarterback, and a week full of controversy. The Chargers, still building, flipping the lst pick they had made to the Giants, for the 4th pick, New York had just taken. Swap the name plates on the lockers, Eli Manning went to the Giants, Philip Rivers came here, along with draft picks that became Shawne Merriman and Nate Kaeding. A superb deal, with guys that will wind up in the Hall of Fame.
So as we await the start of today’s draft, we won’t see a blockbuster type package like the Rams-and-Eagles just engineered, but we might see a trade down.
If the Bolts stay at #3-I’d take DeForest Buckner of Oregon. If they trade back, they take OT-Ronnie Stanley of Notre Dame. I think they stay away from Joey Bosa-Ohio State and Laremy Tunsil of Ole Miss. If someone wants S-Jalen Ramsey, they’ll have to pay a good ransom to get San Diego’s pick.
The Chargers have played a part in draft day deals, some that worked, some that didn’t. What are the Bolts going to do? We find out in the 5pm hour.