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Redrafted draft may be full of surprises

Discussion in 'American Football' started by Johnny Lightning, Apr 19, 2010.

  1. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

    Feb 7, 2006

    As the NFL draft makes its prime-time debut on Thursday, Chargers Vice President Ed McGuire will be seated, as always, to A.J. Smith’s right, two seats away but close enough to hand him the phone if necessary.
    McGuire and Smith have been taking phone calls for more than a month — since LaDainian Tomlinson left, followed out the door by Michael Bennett — about other teams’ running backs. The talk has been mostly speculative, but it has gotten more earnest in recent days and will continue to increase in specifics and intensity this week and into the draft.
    It is McGuire who does the talking with other teams during the draft. He tells Smith what is said. The general manager gets on the horn only when he has to.
    There is always dialogue, some of it outlandish feelers and some serious proposals.
    This year, count on more of the latter.
    There is the real potential for some wheeling and dealing, perhaps to an extent not seen by the Chargers since back when they were awful.
    Loaded with an extra third-round pick in 2011 (from Seattle) and the knowledge he will have at least another third-round pick and likely a second-rounder in ’11 as payment from the New York Jets for Antonio Cromartie, Smith could use current and future draft picks to move as never before. He cannot trade the pick from the Jets, but he knows he has it if he decides to trade his current 2011 second-rounder or a third he already possesses.
    There is precedent. Even without such bargaining power, he has in recent years leapt for the right to select Eric Weddle in 2007 (moving up 25 spots in the second round in exchange for a third and fifth that year and a third-rounder in the next draft) and Jacob Hester in ’08 (acquiring a third-rounder in exchange for a second-round pick in ’09).
    Add in the element of Smith’s willingness to peddle a couple of high-profile players on the Chargers’ roster — sources maintain that Shawne Merriman and Darren Sproles can still be had — and it is not unfathomable that our minds will be blown come Thursday or Friday.
    (Deep breath.)
    Or the Chargers could stay with what they have, which is essentially their full slate of picks. (They gave up their sixth-round pick in trade for Travis Johnson in August but gained a compensatory pick at the conclusion of the fifth round for losing Igor Olshansky and Mike Goff to free agency.)
    Standing pat would make for an intriguing draft too, in that the Chargers are looking to replace high-profile players (Tomlinson and Jamal Williams) at key positions (running back and nose tackle).
    They have picks 28, 40 and 91 in the first three rounds, their most picks that high since 2006. This is the first time they’ve even possessed a second-round selection since ’07, having traded their ’08 second-rounder for Chris Chambers and their ’09 second-rounder for Hester.
    But it is the real possibility of a trade (or trades) that make the lead-up to this draft unique.
    The draft’s new format, with the first round on Thursday and then overnight and all day Friday for the league’s personnel people to think about the second round and beyond, has many believing there is potential for more trades. What is considered a deep talent pool, with first-round talent available well beyond the 32nd pick, could also incite dealing.
    “I kind of think the second round will now be like the first round,” said New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick at the NFL owners meetings last month. “Take those 32 players out of there, whoever they are, now you’re starting all over again for that second round. And I can see it being approached more as that first round. In the past, you kind of rolled into that round. Now, to actually stop and have the whole night to sit there and think about it and talk to other teams and develop a new strategy. Everybody does that on the second day; now we have three days. It’s a different dynamic.”
    The March trade that sent Charlie Whitehurst to Seattle and gave the Chargers their 40th pick this year and a third-rounder next year might well have negated the Chargers’ need to move in this draft.
    But sources with knowledge of the conversations the Chargers have had with other teams said a trade for a running back currently on an NFL roster should not be discounted. While the teams involved in offering their players don’t want that publicized, it is known that no current starters are part of discussions.
    Such a move would allow Smith to be defense-centric at the top of the draft, where an upgrade at strong safety is also on the Chargers’ wish list.
    At least there are possibilities.

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