The Los Angeles Chargers finished the 2019 regular season by losing 31-21 to the division-rival Kansas City Chiefs, dropping their overall record to 5-11. Between the defeat and the rest of the Week 17 slate, the Chargers now hold the No. 6 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, their highest selection four years.
The Chargers have rarely owned top-10 picks over the last 15 years, selecting in that range just twice during that span. However, each of those instances occurred recently, with the team selecting Ohio State defensive end Joey Bosa with the No. 3 pick in 2016 and Clemson wide receiver Mike Williams with the No. 7 pick the following year. Both players have entrenched themselves as part of Los Angeles' core, with Bosa registering 11.5 sacks and Williams posting over 1,000 receiving yards in 2019. The same talent evaluator that made those selections will do so with the No. 6 pick in April: general manager Tom Telesco.
While Los Angeles hoped to extend their season into January, the early pick comes at an opportune moment for the franchise. After a rollercoaster season, quarterback Philip Rivers might have played his final down for the Chargers, something he acknowledged during his postgame press conference Sunday. "If one of 32 teams want me and it's the right situation, and I can start that 225th game in a row, I'll be running out there," Rivers said.
Accordingly, Telesco and his front office could invest the No. 6 overall pick into the quarterback position. That could come in conjunction with Rivers returning for another year or in lieu of a new contract depending on how much runway the Chargers believe the 16-year veteran still possesses. Alternatively, Los Angeles could forego drafting a quarterback and use their first-round pick on a player to help Rivers or bolster the defense. At this moment, each of these scenarios appears plausible.
Check out the full draft order below:
1. Cincinnati Bengals
3. Detroit Lions
4. New York Giants
5. Miami Dolphins
6. Los Angeles Chargers
7. Carolina Panthers
8. Arizona Cardinals
9. Jacksonville Jaguars
10. Cleveland Browns
11. New York Jets
12. Oakland Raiders
13. Indianapolis Colts
14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
15. Denver Broncos
16. Atlanta Falcons
17. Dallas Cowboys
18. Miami Dolphins (via Steelers)
19. Oakland Raiders (via Bears)
20. Jacksonville Jaguars (via Rams)
(Picks 21-32 determined by playoffs)
-- Jason B. Hirschhorn is an award-winning sports journalist and Pro Football Writers of America member. Follow him on Twitter: @by_JBH