Why the Chargers should trade up and draft Tremaine Edmunds

BLACKSBURG, VA - OCTOBER 28: Linebacker Tremaine Edmunds (Photo by Michael Shroyer/Getty Images)
BLACKSBURG, VA - OCTOBER 28: Linebacker Tremaine Edmunds (Photo by Michael Shroyer/Getty Images) /

The Los Angeles Chargers will enter the 2018 NFL Draft with the 17th overall selection. That is, unless the team moves up in the first-round.

The 2018 NFL Draft will begin on April 26 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. This is the first draft since 2014 in which the Los Angeles Chargers do not have a selection in the first-half of the first-round. After finishing with a 9-7 record and narrowly missing the postseason, the Chargers come in with the 17th overall selection.

The Chargers had picks in the top-ten in the last two drafts. Last season, wide receiver Mike Williams was selected with the seventh-overall selection; the year prior, Joey Bosa was selected with the third-overall selection.

This season, the team’s biggest needs are on the defensive side of the ball. Defensive tackle and middle linebacker are the two most likely selections; both needed to aid in the Chargers’ biggest downfall: run defense.

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There will some great prospects available for the team 17 picks in. The Alabama duo of defensive tackle Da’Ron Payne and middle linebacker Rashaan Evans are both intriguing options. Both will help the Chargers stop the run and will be immediate starters in the NFL.

However, there is a unique opportunity at the top of the draft board that may be too hard to pass up: middle linebacker Tremaine Edmunds.

If you are following the 2018 NFL Draft you likely have heard of Edmunds. Edmunds is a freak athlete that is the perfect example of the new breed of linebacker in the NFL.

Matt Miller of Bleacher Report ranks Edmunds as the tenth-best draft prospect on his big board. Pete Prisco of CBS Sports has Edmunds going ninth overall to the San Francisco 49ers, a popular destination for Edmunds in many mock drafts.

Edmunds is considered a Pro Bowl caliber player on his NFL.com Draft & Combine Profile. NFL analyst Lance Zierlein was not shy of praising Edmunds on the profile.

"“Edmunds combines elite size, speed and explosiveness into a productive, versatile linebacker package that will have evaluators salivating,” Zierlein writes. “Edmunds can play in any alignment at any linebacker spot and has All-Pro potential no matter where he lands.”"

The easiest position to trade into will be the fourth-overall selection, owned by the Cleveland Browns. With the first-overall selection as well, the Browns may be looking to trade down in the draft to land established talent.

Cornerback Jason Verrett is the established piece that the Chargers should be dangling in any draft day trade. Los Angeles has proven that it can with without Verrett on the field and would benefit more from Edmunds. Packaging Verrett, the 17th overall selection, a third-round pick and a future third-round pick may be enough to intrigue the Browns.

Another possibility is the Indianapolis Colts, who originally had the third-overall selection but traded down to the sixth-overall selection from the New York Jets. The Colts may be less likely to trade down in the draft but still allow the Chargers to leapfrog the 49ers.

If the Chargers are looking to draft a middle linebacker, trading up may be the best route. If a defensive tackle is the preferred choice, staying put at 17 should be just fine.

Next: Los Angeles Chargers Big Board

However, the Los Angeles Chargers do have the chance to land someone truly special in Tremaine Edmunds. If the opportunity presents itself, it is going to be hard to pass on trading up in the draft.