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Draft Scenario: What if the Bolts Trade Down in Round 1?


The 2024 NFL Draft is just days away, and plenty of intrigue remains about what the Chargers will do with the No. 5 overall pick.

This is the third of a three-part series looking at potential options the Chargers have in Round 1.

We focused on wide receivers here and offensive tackle options here, and will end with a focus on a possible first-round trade.

Why does a trade make sense?

Quarterbacks drive most everything in the NFL, whether that's on-field performance and notches in the win column.

The position also usually shapes how the beginning of each draft will look.

With multiple highly-touted quarterback prospects in the 2024 draft class, Dane Brugler of The Athletic believes the Bolts are currently sitting pretty at No. 5 overall.

"It's very fascinating this year because of the quarterbacks. We're going to see quarterbacks go 1-2 for sure and most likely go 1-2-3," Brugler said. "And then there's a very good chance that we see quarterbacks go 1-2-3-4. And if they don't go four, that fourth quarterback likely goes at 5 or 6.

"It's just a matter of these musical chairs," Brugler added. "If quarterbacks go 1-2-3-4, all of a sudden that No. 5 pick, you have your choice of any non-quarterback in the draft."

The Chargers, of course, have zero need for a quarterback with Justin Herbert inking a multi-year deal last summer.

That left Brugler to opine that the Chargers, who currently have nine picks in 2024, could trade down to acquire more picks for this year or next.

"I think the Chargers are in a good spot," Brugler said. "Obviously, they have their quarterback, they don't need to worry about that.

"But you would feel just fine staying at five and taking the best player on your board," Brugler continued. "Or you're going to entertain these trade offers and really think about that.

"They have options and could have more draft picks because of the trade-back situation," Brugler later added. "So, yeah, I think the Chargers are in a really enviable spot."

If quarterbacks are indeed taken with the first three or even four picks, the Chargers could move down the board and amass more draft capital.

The Bolts have plenty of big-name players on their roster, yes, but first-year Chargers General Manager Joe Hortiz could fill important depth spots with extra picks acquired in a potential Round 1 trade.

"If we're going to trade away from great players, there has to be a reason, in terms of value, for us," Hortiz said. "Certainly, there are going to be more great players in the draft, but it has to make sense to you and it has to make sense to the team that is wanting to come up."

And Hortiz made it even more clear the Chargers would need a very enticing return in exchange for No. 5.

"The whole, 'It's a fair trade, it's a wash.' I don't think that's a trade that we're interested in," Hortiz added.

If the Chargers do end up swinging a trade back from No. 5, they will do so looking to fill numerous positions groups throughout the draft.

NFL Network draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah recently said the Bolts have "got a lot of things to get accomplished here" and added that the 2024 draft is "more about the volume of the players they bring in."

Who could the Chargers trade with?

Any of the teams behind the Chargers make sense depending on how the board falls Thursday night.

The Bolts, however, might not want to move too far down the board to ensure they still get a possible blue-chip player in Round 1.

ESPN draft analyst Jordan Reid mentioned the Broncos (No. 12) and Raiders (No. 13) as teams that could be willing to move up if a quarterback they like is available.

But Reid noted that since teams rarely make inter-division trades, the Vikings at No. 11 are the most logical team.

The Vikings were the first team Brugler mentioned as a possible Bolts trade partner. In such a scenario, Brugler had the Chargers beefing up their offensive line with the 11th pick.

"If the Vikings want to move up from 11, you can take Troy Fautanu from Washington," Brugler said. "All of a sudden, we've got this versatile offensive lineman who can play five positions. You can play him at guard as a rookie or if he wins the right tackle job, great."

Keep in mind though, the Bolts likely don't want to move down too, too far from No. 5.

"I would never cap us, and I don't think we should cap ourselves," Hortiz said. "But, you kind of create layers of, 'OK, this is about how far I'd want to go back.' That's part of the strategy."

Which players could the Bolts target?

For the sake of this exercise, let's assume the Chargers and Vikings swing a first-round deal.

In this very hypothetical scenario, Minnesota moves up to No. 5 while the Chargers get Nos. 11 and 23 this year. (Note: while current/future draft picks might also be included, we're only focused on Round 1 here).

With that in mind, here are some players the Chargers could take with the 11th and 23rd picks acquired from the Vikings.

Pick No. 11


Based on rankings from three well-known draft analysts, Terrion Arnold is roughly the 10th-best player in the draft.

The Alabama cornerback would give the Chargers much-needed cornerback depth on the back end.

Jeremiah has Arnold ranked No. 9 on his top 50 list while the cornerback is 10th on Brugler's Top 100 board and is 11th in Reid's rankings.

Jeremiah wrote that Arnold has "has ideal size, play speed and instincts for the position. He plays both outside and inside at the nickel. He is effective in press and off coverage."

A First-Team All-American in 2023, Arnold tied for the most interceptions in the SEC with five.


Fautana was Brugler's pick at No. 11 which was referenced above. Fautanu is Brugler's No. 9 overall player while Jeremiah has him at No. 11 and Reid has him ranked 18th overall.

Jeremiah's report on Fautana said "he is a very easy mover, bends well and has a sharp/jolting punch. He redirects smoothly and is a nasty helper when uncovered."

The winner of the Morris Trophy given to the best offensive lineman in the Pac 12, he earned All-Pac-12 First-Team honors for two consecutive seasons.

Note: We covered other possible offensive tackles in a previous Chargers draft scenario. Info on Notre Dame's Joe Alt, Penn State's Olu Fashanu, Oregon State's Taliese Fuaga and Alabama's JT Latham can be found here.


Brugler (No. 11), Jeremiah (No. 13) and Reid (No. 15) all have Toledo cornerback Quinyon Mitchell as a Top-15 prospect.

Mitchell could step in and earn immediate playing time given the Bolts current situation at cornerback.

Jeremiah noted that "Mitchell is a feisty competitor with outstanding speed and a history of ball production."

Mitchell finished his career as Toledo's all-time leader in career pass breakups with 46 and was also a two-time First-Team All-MAC selection.


If the Bolts want to add an offensive playmaker, LSU wide receiver Brian Thomas, Jr. could be in play here.

Thomas is Brugler's No. 15 player while Heremiah has his 17th overall and Reid ranked him 23rd.

Jeremiah said Thomas is "a big, explosive wideout with incredible production. He lines up outside and in the slot. He easily defeats press coverage with his quickness."

Thomas led the nation in touchdown receptions, as his 17 scores rank third in LSU single-season history.

D. Turner

Alabama edge rusher Dallas Turner would provide a long-term pass-rushing option if he ends up in powder blue.

Reid has Turner as his No. 9 overall player while Jeremiah (No. 12) and Brugler (No. 14) have him close behind.

Jeremiah noted he is "a long, athletic edge with excellent production and an intriguing skill set as a pass rusher."

A consensus First-Team All-American in 2023, Turner was voted as the SEC's Defensive Player of the Year. He led the Crimson Tide with 14.5 tackles for loss and 13 quarterback hurries during the regular season.

Pick No. 23

Latu DE

UCLA'a Laiatu Latu wouldn't have to travel far and would give the Chargers added juice in this position group.

Latu is Reid's No. 14 player while Jeremiah (No. 16) and Brugler (No. 22) are also fairly high on him.

Jeremiah wrote Latu "has an excellent feel for when offensive tackles overset or underset and adjusts accordingly. He doesn't have elite speed or power, but he wins with technique, bend and savvy."

Latu became the Bruins first-ever winner of the Lombardi Award, given to the college player "who best embodies the values and spirit of NFL's legendary coach Vince Lombardi." His 1.8 tackles for loss per game led the country and he ranked fourth nationally in sacks per game (1.08).


Georgia's Amarius Mims could be a right tackle option in the back half of the first round.

Brugler (No. 19), Reid (No. 20) and Jeremiah (No. 22) all have Mims ranked in a similar spot.

Jeremiah said Mims is "an enormous right tackle prospect with long arms … while the résumé is light, the skill set is impressive."

Mims made just eight collegiate starts but has and ideal frame at 6-foot-8 and 340 pounds.


Texas' Adonai Mitchell would give the Chargers extra pass-catching options after the departures of Keenan Allen and Mike Williams.

Reid has Mitchell ranked 21st on his board while Jeremiah has his 27th and Brugler tabbed him at No. 33.

Jeremiah's report on Mitchell noted he "has surprisingly good route polish for a bigger receiver. He understands how to change tempo, and he's clean getting in and out of breaks."

Mitchell transferred to Texas from Georgia and was named the 2023 Big 12 Newcomer of the Year by the Associated Press and was selected as the Offensive Newcomer of the Year by the conference's coaches.

B Murphy

Texas defensive tackle Byron Murphy II would bring the beef up front defensively.

Brugler, Reid and Jeremiah all have Murphy in the top 20 of their rankings, with the latter noting he is "a very explosive, nimble and instinctive defensive tackle. He is a dynamic disruptor against the pass game."

The 2023 Big 12 Defensive Lineman of the Year was a disruptive force in the middle of the Longhorn defense. He earned Second-Team All-America honors and became the first Texas offensive or defensive lineman with multiple offensive touchdowns.


Oregon's Jackson Powers-Johnson could be the Chargers long-term center if he gets selected by the Bolts.

Brugler has him as his No. 23 overall player while Jeremiah and Reid both have the former Duck at No. 30.

Jeremiah's report on Powers-Johnson said he "has good size, exceptional quickness and steady balance. In pass pro, he sets vertically and is able to catch and absorb versus power rushers."

Powers-Johnson won the Rimington Trophy winner given to nation's best center in 2023. He became the first player in Ducks history win the award and was the fifth unanimous All-American in program history.


Nate Wiggins could be a Round 1 option to help the Bolts cornerback group.

The former Clemson star is ranked 24th by Brugler, 27th by Reid and 31st by Jeremiah, who noted Wiggins "is a fluid mover and has plenty of deep speed. He can locate and play the ball down the field."

Wiggins earned First-Team All-ACC honors in 2023 after leading the team in pass breakups and forcing two fumbles.

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