“Chargers–When–If–Why–Draft a QB”
They knew this day was coming.
They did nothing about it.
Now the time has arrived and they have to replace him.
Him being Philip Rivers, who gave the Chargers 14-tremendous years of service as quarterback.
His stay is over because of age, a high salary cap number, a bit of a declining performance and a coach who wants a different type of quarterback in a changing NFL world.
Rivers is the Indianapolis Colts solution to their quarterback problems, with Andrew Luck’s sudden retirement because of injuries.
The Chargers are now faced with a real problem, having to do something, and the only benefit of last year’s lousy (5-11) season is the very high draft pick they will have, sixth, in what appears to be a quarterback heavy opening round.
But there are issues though, because it now appears, 48-hours before the start of this draft, that the top two sure-fire QBs will be off the board, Joe Burrow of LSU and Justin Herbert of Oregon.
It leaves the Bolts with the opportunity to take Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa, but he brings with him a resume of injuries and surgeries.
The fractured and dislocated hip surgery; operations on both ankles; a surgical procedure for a damaged finger, and two wrist injuries on top of that. The stat sheet reads 3-years, 4-surgeries, 5-injuries.
There will be other QBs available, likely development guys like Utah State’s Jordan Love, Oklahoma’s Jalen Hurts, Washington’s Jacob Eason. But who knows if they will be there by the time the Chargers pick at #37.
The great debate in the Chargers War Room would be ‘risk-vs-reward’ if it has to be Tua.
The Chargers front office knew they would be replacing Rivers one day, much like past front office leadership knew they would have to replace Dan Fouts. The GM group that included Johnny Sanders and Steve Ortmayer never solved the issues, and there were bad years ahead till Bobby Beathard traded for Stan Humphries.
They had chances in recent drafts to draft for the future, and didn’t.
Tom Telesco’s draft ledgers has been pretty decent repairing the mess he inherited from the tailed of the AJ Smith regime.
But he also bypassed potential stars when he should have considered adding to the Rivers-led position.
How would Patrick Mahomes or Deshaun Watson have looked in a Lightning Bolt helmet?
Do you think Russell Wilson would have made a different once the landscape of how to play quarterback in the new look NFL was taking part?
Telesco could have drafted any of those three, and he didn’t. Now he is facing an enormous challenge and gamble. He has openly praised journeyman Tyrod Taylor, who had starting opportunities in Buffalo-Baltimore and Cleveland, and was allowed to walk from the Bills-Ravens-Browns.
A look back at what could have happened, but didn’t.
2019..Drew Lock-Missouri…bypassed by the Bolts who took DT-Jerry Tillery. Lock went (5-1) as a starter down the stretch in Denver.
2018..No quality QBs were available as the Chargers took potential star safety Derwin James.
2017..Patrick Mahomes-Texas Tech and Deshaun Watson-Clemson were both available early in the first round. The Chargers went for WR-Mike Williams instead, a rock solid choice. But you know, I know, and the Chargers front office knows what Mahomes-Watson have turned into.
2016..It was the Joey Boss draft with a very high pick. The only QB available turned out too be a bust in Paxton Lynch-Memphis, now out of the NFL, and a failed Denver draft pick.
2015..Melvin Gordon was the choice and a quality player in a QB-thin year where only journeyman Sean Mannion was available when the Bolts picked.
2014..Teddy Bridgewater-Louisville…Derek Carr-Fresno State have played well in the NFL, maybe not superstar status, but rock solid. Telesco bypassed them and went for the medical risk CB-Jason Verrett.
2013..EJ Manuel-Florida State-Geno Smith-West Virginia..So much was expected, so little happened with those high picks….Systems didn’t fit…Work ethic wasn’t there..Intelligence was lacking…both failed. The Bolts got mixed results from OG-DJ Fluker who has since moved on to 3-other teams.
2012..Russell Wilson-Minnesota…a 3-year starter who might have been the first piece of the puzzle as NFL teams discovered the RPO-run-pass-option offense could work. Who would you rather have, Wilson or LB-Melvin Ingram? Tough call, but you have to have QBs to win in this league.
2011..Colin Kaeperneck-Nevada…A fast rising star who got to the 49ers, did well, got hurt as the team fell apart. He put together 3-really good years. The Bolts got a lot of service time from DE-Corey Liuget.
So the Chargers get on the clock knowing they have to find an heir apparent to Rivers, and someone Tyrod Taylor can bridge to for the future.
If not this year, when?
Of course I could have said that in 2017…2014….2012.
I did…the Chargers didn’t.