Trading Places

Fifteen minutes on the clock begins:<br><br> NOW.<br><br> The hysteria is about to start and the phones will ring. Sounds like the New York Stock Exchange, but it really is the 2003 NFL Draft and the San Diego Chargers are on the clock.

Seasons are made at the Draft table. One move can change a franchise around. Consider the acquisition of LaDainian Tomlinson in a deal that essentially sent Michael Vick to Atlanta. The results for both teams have been phenomenal.

Now the Bolts sit at the threshold of greatness just a defense away from something very special.

The question fans are asking is who we can trade down with to get an extra pick, and get the best value for our first round selection. The Draft is rich with players of talent in the middle rounds and if the Chargers can pull off a deal that nets and extra third round pick they will be in prime position to fill the holes they possess.

Recent rumors have Marty Schottenheimer in favor of trading down 5-10 spots. Hacksaw himself fueled the speculation by saying it over the air waves. Every Charger fan near and far has been saying it since the combines, "If the top 6 players the Chargers want are off the board, let's trade down."

Hacksaw did not provide us with any insight; he just listened to the fans. If the top two corners and top four defensive tackles are gone, every Bolt thrower wants to trade down. No one has given us anything new to feed upon, yet the radio waves will blaze with commentary regarding, "The Chargers are trading down to get an extra pick."

Still there must be two to tango. A dance isn't a dance if you are out on the floor alone. We all remember Farmer Ted in ‘Sixteen Candles' and we do not need a repeat performance.

What constitutes a valid partner?

One who is willing to deal up for a player they adore and is willing to pay whatever price is set by the Chargers brass.

Are there any out there?

No matter the position, there is always someone willing; more often than not they will balk at the price.

Let's forget what it will cost for some team to move up to 15 and instead focus on who may be the willing to consummate a joint ventureship.

The first team of interest is the New England Patriots sitting at pick 19. Well that is only four spots you say! Still they may be interested in the first dance. The Patriots are in competition with the NY Jets, another possible trade partner we will cover shortly, in the AFC East. Depending on what the Jets do at pick thirteen and the Patriots at fourteen, they may be in position to trade up a few spots to complete a deal. Consider the possibilities. The Jets select Kevin Williams at thirteen which amazingly leaves Boss Bailey and Johnathan Sullivan on the board. The Pats know the Chargers are salivating at Sullivan and pick him to team with another Georgia star Richard Seymour. Bailey remains on the board. Kansas City at 16 may consider Bailey and the Pats want him as well making a trade possible.

Same scenario, but the Jets at 22 want Bailey to help an aging linebacker crew. They call up the Chargers as well and now leverage is created. Two teams wanting the same player. Why? One reason is because they don't want their rivals to get Bailey and since both teams have two picks in round one they form an intriguing tandem.

The Cleveland Browns sit at pick 21 and are hot on Eric Steinbach. The Chargers have him as a fallback option, and as the number one rated guard in the draft see definite value in selecting him at 15. Rumors are swirling regarding the Browns trading Tim Couch, Jamal White or both to Dallas. Extra picks for another move up the draft board? Quite possible. The Browns also have interest in Bailey, and the possibilities are endless as these three teams fight it out.

Back to New England and the Jets. Both also covet Steinbach, and with Cleveland all but certain to take him if he falls, the bidding war may prove to be beneficial to the Chargers. Three teams, all looking to angle the board in their favor may have to move to spot 15 to ensure they get the man they covet. Since they all play in the AFC and are playoff worthy, the ramifications will prove costly for the team that doesn't get the deal.

The Giants at pick 25 are perhaps the most interesting partner. After years of unwillingness to trade, they proved last year they will not sit idly by if a player they covet is available. The reward last year was the rookie of the year Jeremy Shockey. This year they are also in the hunt for a few players. William Joseph, Kwame Harris and Kenny Peterson top their list. Joseph is a candidate to go to the Chargers who need D-line help, Peterson could go to a number of teams before them, as could Harris. The Giants may feel trading up to acquire one of these players is the way to go. Last year proved the risk is worth the reward to them and they are eager to swing the magic wand again. Giants General Manager Ernie Accorsi said he will not give up a future first-round draft choice to move up this year, and any deal the team makes will involve only selections in 2003.

What will Draft day hold? No one knows until the team you follow is on the clock. One thing is certain; options are available to a team that knows how to plan ahead.

Denis Savage can be reached at or via the following link: Denis Savage

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