Was it wise for the Chargers to trade away a 4th round pick this year and 5th round pick next year to move up two spots and take running back Melvin Gordon?
Like every other pick this year (and in the past 50 years) we will have the answer two or three years from now.
It seems clear the Chargers made this trade so that a team selecting after them didn't leap frog them by making a similar trade. The 49ers and Texans were due to select 15 and 16 before the Chargers at 17.
I have a hard time believing that Houston would select Gordon since they have Arian Foster on their roster, and while San Francisco might have a need at running back, they knew they could still get the player they sought at 17 (they took DT Arik Armstead of Oregon), stock pile picks and get a running back later this weekend in a draft that is deep in that position.
Losing their 4th round pick, the Chargers will draft just 5 players in the NFL Draft.
That move is drawing criticism from the scribes and complaints from the fans; but figuring you're doing well if four draftees turn into serious NFL players, the Chargers can still have an impactful and successful draft if they choose wisely. We will learn if they do/did no later than 2017.
A BARGAIN DRAFT PICK IN THE SECOND ROUND
The 2nd round pick of Denzel Perryman from the University of Miami looks to be one of bargain versus need.
The Chargers defensive needs were at nose tackle and edge rushers to replace Jarret Johnson and Dwight Freeney.
Perryman is an inside linebacker, so Tom Telesco and crew must have felt Perryman had slipped down the draft board and couldn't be passed on. Scouting reports have him as a smash-mouth, hard-hitting, lunch pail badass.
That's the type of linebacker I like to have on my team.
ADDRESSING THE MISSING LINKS IN THE FINAL ROUNDS
As mentioned earlier, the Chargers defensive needs were at nose tackle and edge rushers to replace Jarret Johnson and Dwight Freeney.
Tom Telesco addressed the latter with the 5th and 6th round picks on Saturday (Kyle Emanuel, OLB, North Dakota State and Darius Philon, DT, Arkansas). Neither is expected to contribute as a pass rusher in their first season, but look for them to be involved in special teams and to develop as the pass rushers the team needs in the next 2-3 years.
The Chargers used four of their five draft picks on the defensive side of the ball, but the biggest pick was on offense (RB Melvin Gordon of Wisconsin). Uncharacteristically, the Chargers took 2 athletes (Craig Mager, DB and Kyle Emanuel, OLB) from smaller schools (North Dakota State and Texas State respectively). The Mager pick in the 3rd round seemed a bit aggressive since he was slotted to be a 5th round guy, but the Chargers didn't have a 4th round selection and probably figured he wouldn't slide to the their position in the 5th round. We'll find out if that pays off in 3 years (or sooner).
All in all, the Chargers addressed two big needs through the draft (running back and pass rushers) but they still lack a big nose tackle. Look for one to be acquired some time between now and training camp.