In the past three weeks there have been two blockbuster trades for the top two selections in the draft that has all-but assured the top-rated left tackle, Laremy Tunsil, will be available for the Chargers who have the third pick of the draft.
With both the Rams and Eagles expected to select quarterbacks with the first two picks, the Chargers appear to be sitting in the proverbial “cat bird seat” with the number of options these trades have given General Manager Tom Telesco.
As we go to print a day before the draft the question remains — which direction will Telesco take?
Having a roster in need of many upgrades, Telesco now has the enviable opportunity to select one of the two overall best players in the draft, Tunsil or Florida State cornerback/safety Jalen Ramsey, improve his defensive line by picking one of the high-ranking defensive ends in Ohio States’ Joey Bosa or Oregon’s DeForest Buckner, or he could surprise fans by opting for Myles Jack — the versatile linebacker out of UCLA whom the Chargers worked out at safety.
However, there is a third option for Telesco to take which could best benefit the team if the offer is right — trade back and gather more picks. Per the NFL Network, every time both the No. 1 and No. 2 picks were traded, the No. 3-overall pick was dealt as well.
If history prevails, Telesco pulls the trigger on a trade offer where he moves down a few spots keeping within the top 10 and garners him additional picks in later rounds.
And with the first two picks being spent on quarterbacks, there is a good chance Telesco could still land one of the coveted prospects mentioned above if he trades down.
Scanning over the various mock drafts most pundits have basically settled on three players whom they believe the Chargers will select at No. 3 — Tunsil, Ramsey or Buckner. Below is the final look at the predictions from the various analysts with the picks in bold.
The NFL Network — Daniel Jeremiah, Charley Casserly, Chad Reuter and Lance Zierlein: L. Tunsil, OT, Ole Miss. Charles Davis and Curtis Conway: J. Ramsey, CB/S, Florida St. Bucky Brooks: D. Buckner, DE, Oregon.
CBS Sports — Dane Brugler, Pete Prisco, Will Brinson and Jared Dubin: L. Tunsil, OT, Ole Miss. Rob Rang: J. Ramsey, CB/S, Florida St.
ESPN — Mel Kiper: L. Tunsil, OT, Ole Miss; Todd McShay: J. Ramsey, CB/S, Florida St.
Ourlad’s — D. Buckner, DE, Oregon.
The Sporting News — D. Buckner, DE, Oregon.
Sports Illustrated — Chris Burke: D. Buckner, DE, Oregon.
Pro Football Focus — Cris Collinsworth: L. Tunsil, OT, Ole Miss.
Athlon — Adam Kirkjian: J. Ramsey, CB/S, Florida St.
Pro Football Weekly — Nate Atkins: J. Ramsey, CB/S, Florida St.
SB Nation — Dan Kadar: L. Tunsil, OT, Ole Miss.
The Bleacher Report — Chris Roling: J. Ramsey, CB/S, Florida St.
Newsday — Nick Klopsis: J. Ramsey, CB/S, Florida St.
USA Today — Nate Davis: L. Tunsil, OT, Ole Miss.
The Endzone: If the pundits listed above are correct, the Chargers will select one of three players — Tunsil, Ramsey or Buckner. With the Chargers needing more than just one elite player to become a consistent playoff contender, PFF’s Senior Analyst Steve Pallazzolo offered up three trade scenarios where the Chargers drop down after making a deal with either the 49ers, Jets or the Jaguars.
Holding the No. 7-overall pick and rumors surrounding a possible deal for QB Colin Kaepernick going to Denver, the Niners might be willing to make a deal to move up and select QB Paxton Lynch before another team needing a quarterback trades up ahead of them.
Another team with a QB controversy is the Jets, who, sitting at No. 20, might not have enough trade bait to move up to the third pick. Knowing the Chargers need defensive line help, Pallazzolo suggests the Jets offer Pro Bowl defensive tackle Muhammad Wilkerson in addition to draft picks to help entice Telesco to make the deal. However, the long-term contract Wilkerson is seeking would likely kill any thoughts of bringing him to San Diego.
A more likely option is Jacksonville packaging their pick at No. 5 with additional picks for the Chargers’ pick at No. 3. In this scenario, the Jaguars select the player they are rumored to covet (Ramsey) and the Chargers would still be in position to select Tunsil, Buckner, Bosa or even Jack if he clears the medical questions surrounding his injured knee.
Prediction: History repeats and Telesco trades down a few spots, obtains an additional pick or two and selects Buckner. Although they need help along the offensive front, having a dominant defensive end not only frees up the linebackers in a 3-4 defense but makes the secondary better by collapsing the pocket into opposing quarterbacks.