Chargers Could Help Make History in 2020 NFL Draft

Jason B. Hirschhorn

After parting ways with Philip Rivers after a 16-year run and not signing a veteran replacement, the Los Angeles Chargers look likely to target a signal-caller with their top pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. If they do land a quarterback of the future in the first round, they could contribute to a history-making night.

If the upcoming draft unfolds as expected, three or more quarterbacks will come off the board within the top 32 picks, with LSU's Joe Burrow, Oregon's Justin Herbert, Utah State's Jordan Love, and Alabama's Tua Tagovailoa all considered possible if not likely first-round selections. Should that happen, it would mark the fifth consecutive year in which at least three signal-callers went in that round.

Only once in the NFL history have five consecutive drafts produced three or more first-round quarterbacks: the stretch from 2002 to 2006. That Chargers took part in that period, drafting Ole Miss signal-caller Eli Manning and trading him to the New York Giants on draft day for Rivers. Those drafts also produced future Super Bowl winners Ben Roethlisberger (Pittsburgh Steelers, 2004) and Aaron Rodgers (Green Bay Packers, 2005).

While the Chargers appear likely to draft a quarterback in the first round, they could go in another direction. Linebacker remains a weakness on the defense and Clemson's Isaiah Simmons could prove too enticing to pass up. They could also use their pick on an offensive tackle to bookend the recently signed Bryan Bulaga and fortify the pass protection. And, of course, Los Angeles might not covet any of the signal-callers available when they go on the clock.

Still, with quarterback such an important position and no obvious long-term successor to Rivers currently on the roster, the Chargers might feel they have no choice but to take one. If the team chooses that path, it can only hope it plays out as well as last time.

-- Jason B. Hirschhorn is an award-winning sports journalist and Pro Football Writers of America member. Follow him on Twitter: @by_JBH