Recent QB Movement and the San Diego Chargers
Aprils Fools turned out to be no fooling around today, with three new quarterbacks going to three new NFL teams. Now that Buffalo signed Kevin Kolb, Arizona about ready to trade for Carson Palmer, and Oakland trading for Matt Flynn, some quarterback hungry teams aren’t that hungry any longer. These three transactions can very much alter this month’s NFL Draft, especially for the San Diego Chargers and their current draft needs.
San Diego cut ties with left tackle Jared Gaither last week opening a glaring hole at left tackle (which is their most important draft need). The top three offensive tackles (Luke Joeckel, Eric Fisher & Lane Johnson) could be taken before San Diego picks at number eleven. San Diego can elect drafting other needs in the first round (like outside linebacker, nose tackle, guard or even receiver ) but if Philadelphia, Arizona or Buffalo elect to pass on top rated quarterback Geno Smith, San Diego might be forced to draft a new quarterback.
Geno Smith has been projected the #1 overall draft pick, as well as the highest rated quarterback in the 2013 draft. Smith was first projected to go #1 to Kansas City, but the Chiefs traded for new starter Alex Smith. The Cardinals, Raiders and Bills all have had links to quarterback Geno Smith within the top ten picks, but all have NEW quarterbacks as of TODAY. Those same teams that all pick before San Diego could all draft the big three left tackles, and are now more likely to be gone by San Diego’s #11 pick.
New Chargers GM Tom Telesco has already said that San Diego will draft the best player available, regardless of position. If Geno Smith is available at #11, Telesco may have to draft him. But that would seem alright, right? New GM’s on new teams want to draft their guys. Plus San Diego has a new head coach, and head coaches are the same way as GM’s, they all want their choice in players. Phillip Rivers was old GM AJ Smith’s guy. The last two years, Rivers has had too many turnovers and very inconsistent play, but most of that blame has been swept towards the porous offensive line. Therefore Rivers is still tradable and may be at his final peak as tradable commodity.
Rivers could get traded immediately (probably demand two 1st round draft picks). One team that has been willing to trade high draft picks for veteran players (and has the salary cap room to take on Rivers contract) is Tampa Bay (not to mention all the Bucs & Darrelle Revis trade rumors). Bucs head coach, Greg Schiano, has no “ties” with their current quarterback, as Josh Freeman was he drafted by the previous coaching staff. No loyalty there. And who has better chemistry with Bucs receiver Vincent Jackson than Phillip Rivers? (other than Antonio Gates)
Or Geno Smith could be tutored by Rivers for a season (and watch & learn from the bench). This may be additional motivation for Rivers to perform better (kind of like what happened with Drew Brees with Rivers on the bench). But without a new 1st round left tackle, Rivers will probably perform badly as he need the protection he can get.
Or Rivers could be traded midseason, kind of like the Bengals and Carson Palmer. WHO KNOWS…
Of course, I’m only guessing if left tackles Joeckel, Fisher or L.Johnson are NOT available when San Diego picks the draft. And usually good quarterbacks like (Geno Smith and Matt Barkley) get drafted quickly. Quarterbacks always go ahead from their projections as this is a quarterback driven league.
…but what if Geno Smith is available for the NEW San Diego Chargers to draft?