There’s enough speculation out there the San Francisco 49ers could trade out from one of their two Round 1 picks in the 2020 NFL Draft, and the Los Angeles Chargers are a potential suitor.
One of the many common predictions for the San Francisco 49ers in the 2020 NFL Draft is general manager John Lynch will attempt moving down from one of the team’s two first-round selections, Nos. 13 and 31 overall, in order to accrue some much-needed draft capital on day two.
It makes sense. The Niners don’t have a ton of needs. But the ones they do have are pressing, and the two first rounders aren’t going to address everything unless Lynch is able to trade down.
There are plenty of potential suitors, of course, but the Los Angeles Chargers could be a squad with whom Lynch finds himself on the phone early on draft day.
Like many teams out there, the Chargers are probably going to be in the market for a long-term answer at quarterback after cutting ties with their longstanding veteran, Philip Rivers, during the offseason. As of now, Tyrod Taylor is the only realistic option under center, and it’s hard to see him as the proverbial “future of the franchise.”
Now, Los Angeles owns the No. 6 overall pick in the draft and won’t select again until the 37th overall pick, which is early enough in Round 2.
It wouldn’t be a shock to see the Chargers go quarterback early. But that’s not the argument Bleacher Report’s Brent Sobleski made. Instead, he thinks L.A. passes on a quarterback with its first pick:
Right now, Tyrod Taylor is the Chargers’ projected starter. Lynn built an offensive around Taylor’s dual-threat capabilities when the two were together with the Buffalo Bills.
“I’m very familiar with Tyrod,” he said, per ESPN’s Lindsey Thiry. “I would say right now it looks like he’s in the driver’s seat, but no position is final until we get to training camp right now.”
A comfort level exists with Taylor that may not with the available quarterback prospects. Thus, the Chargers would be better served to finish their offensive line with a top tackle prospect—Louisville’s Mekhi Becton, Georgia’s Andrew Thomas or Iowa’s Tristan Wirfs—let Taylor take over as the starter and draft a developmental quarterback later in this or next year’s draft.
Sobleski’s point is the Chargers should worry about their offensive line needs first, then worry about who’s under center.
Los Angeles hasn’t done well up front in recent years, and protecting Rivers had been more than problematic before his eventual departure. With the 2020 NFL Draft short on top-end blockers, it wouldn’t be shocking at all to see the Chargers go this route.
This is where the 49ers enter the fray.
A good number of second-tier quarterbacks could be had towards the end of Round 1, such as Utah State’s Jordan Love or even Oklahoma’s Jalen Hurts. And while it would be nowhere near as prolific a bidding war for quarterbacks compared to the beginning of the round for the top-tier targets, it wouldn’t be shocking at all to see teams make a run to get back in towards the end of the first round.
Not completely unlike how the Baltimore Ravens moved up for Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson in 2018.
The Chargers also don’t have a ton of needs elsewhere on the roster, meaning they can afford to dish out some day-two selections (Nos. 37 and 71 overall sound nice) to San Francisco to get the No. 31 overall pick.
And a quarterback to push Taylor in 2020 with the potential to take over in 2021.
If the Chargers call with that kind of offer, Lynch and the 49ers would be more than wise to listen.