North Dakota State
On Thursday, a blockbuster trade was announced between the Los Angeles Rams and Tennessee Titans. In the deal, the Titans sent their first overall pick (1), and their fourth- and sixth-round picks to St. Louis. In return, the Rams sent Tennessee their first-round selection (15), two second-round picks and a third-round selection in the 2016 draft. In addition, the Rams include their first- and third-round picks in 2017.
Nevermind free agency, this is the best thing to happen to the San Diego Chargers this offseason. This mega-deal comes down to three main points:
1. The Rams are preparing to select their quarterback of the future. They need to continue the momentum from the euphoria of moving back to Los Angeles by adding star power. They need to stay in the news in a city like Los Angeles, which is not starving for sports selections. Every major league sport is now represented in Los Angeles with the return of the NFL. L.A. is about box office. The Rams may have a future star with Rookie of the Year running back Todd Gurley, but if there aren’t enough big names on the marquee, the fickle L.A. audience will forget you sooner rather than later. Adding the top quarterback in the draft will address their biggest need and be another name to add to the marquee.
2. The top two picks in the draft will be quarterbacks. The Cleveland Browns select second in the draft and need a quarterback as badly or worse than the Rams do. North Dakota State signal caller Carson Wentz and California Bear Jared Goff are the consensus top-two quarterback prospects in this draft. They will be the first and second picks, the only question is the order in which they will be selected.
Is it possible the Browns could choose a player other than a quarterback with the second pick?
If the Browns are smart they will stay at two and pick their quarterback. If they were choosing anyone other than a quarterback then wise thing to do would be to trade out of the second spot for a nice boatload of picks like the Titans and add starter-quality players to their decrepit team. Then again, we are putting the Browns and smart in the same sentence. This is, after all, the team that burned the second of their two first-round picks on Johnny Manziel only two drafts ago.
3. San Diego will get the No. 1 player on their draft board. Despite what happens with the Cleveland pick, the odds of anything happening aside from Goff and Wentz going in the first two picks are slim and none. Thankfully, the Chargers do not need a quarterback, meaning they will have their choice of the entire draft field to choose from. With eight picks to use over seven rounds, they not only have the top of each round to select the best player available, they have the maneuverability to re-enter a round to accommodate a player who is falling or trade down for value.
The draft truly begins with the Chargers selection. The pressure is on GM Tom Telesco and his braintrust to not screw up this pick. After being left at the altar by the league in the race to L.A. sweepstakes, and not being able to come to an agreement with Rams owner Stan Krownke on co-habitation of the future L.A. mega-stadium, the Bolts should add Kroenke to their Christmas card list.
This trade assures order at the top of the draft. It assures the Chargers the pick of the litter of non-quarterback skill- position players. It’s assures the Bolts a King’s ransom for those other quarterback-hungry teams wishing to jump ahead of other quarterback-hungry teams sitting in the top half of the draft. (Think San Francisco, Philadelphia and possibly Dallas sitting at picks 7, 13 and 4, respectively).
The ball sits in the Bolts’ court. Who should they give it to? Leave your thoughts on whom they should select below.
The Greg One
When 80% of the league shows up to see you work out, that’s a good thing. For quarterback Paxton Lynch, formerly of the Memphis Tigers, that was the case on Wednesday. At his Pro Day workout, 26 of the 32 NFL teams had representatives present.
That’s a good problem to have.
Lynch is widely regarded as the third-best quarterback prospect in the 2016 NFL Draft behind University of California stud Jared Goff and North Dakota State University signal caller Carson Wentz.
Per ESPN, Lynchs’ Pro day workout consisted of 70 scripted passes, of which only 10 were scheduled to be from the shotgun formation. Lynch operated from shotgun his entire tenure at Memphis. In eschewing the shotgun, Lynch intended to show he can effectively run a pro-style offense which requires operating predominantly from under center.
Lynch held his workout outdoors with thunderstorms on the horizon, causing the workout to be moved up 45 minutes. In the elements, most particularly 25-mile-per-hour swirling winds, he completed 57 of his 69 attempts. Lynch’s agent, the legendary Leigh Steinberg, described the workout as “pretty spectacular.”
What else would you expect an agent to say?
However, the fact Lynch did not cancel his workout given his throwing conditions speaks volumes. Conditions like that are going to happen in the NFL. His ability to hit those passes only increases his draft stock. Lynch will be given a pass for his missed passes but will be given extra credit due to his accuracy. It’s a brilliant play from what looks to be a very intelligent, well-prepared quarterback.
Now the hard part begins.
Those 26 teams are going to want to see Lynch in person and put him through their own drills. That brings us to this nugget from NFL Insider Ian Rapoport:
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 6, 2016
Would the San Diego Chargers seriously consider tapping Lynch in the NFL Draft? The Chargers still have a lot of holes to fill, but the role of heir apparent to Philip Rivers has been a role that has been largely ignored. The Bolts would have to use their second-round pick, technically pick number 34 since New England was docked a first-round draft pick due to the Deflategate scandal, to pick Lynch.
That’s a pretty high investment for a player who will only see the field in the preseason. But the question remains, is it worth it?
Per NFL.com, Lynch stands an imposing 6-foot-7, 244 lbs., boasts a 36-inch vertical jump and 118-inch broad jump (best among all QBs) while running the 40-yard dash in 4.86 seconds. Lynch has the size, strength, mobility and, most importantly, the time to watch and learn from a future Hall-of-Fame quarterback in Philip Rivers. Rivers himself sat and learned from Drew Brees for two seasons until it was his time to take the reigns in San Diego. Lynch would find himself coming into an identical situation. Check out these clips from his Pro Day:
— Trotter (@Corran24) April 6, 2016
— NFL (@NFL) April 6, 2016
Still don’t think Tom Telesco would pull the trigger on a quarterback so early? Consider this fact. New Chargers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt was at the Pro Day and he specifically asked Lynch to throw specific routes during the workout. Chargers management is looking to answer the dilemma of life after Rivers and they know Kellen Clemens is not the answer.
The Chargers have eight draft picks to use in seven rounds. Plenty of moves could still be made, even if they do take Lynch at the top of the second round.
Options in play include packaging picks to move into the second round for a second time. We all know how GM Tom Telesco likes to trade up by now…
Like most things in life, you get what you pay for. A second-round pick is paying a lot, but the return could be greater than the investment, in the end. It’s time to fill the potential starter role once and for all, and this is a great place to start. This move would get my full support.
Would you endorse the Chargers drafting Paxton Lynch in the second round? Leave your thoughts below.
The Greg One