Trades between division rivals are rare in the NFL, but blockbuster first-round deals are almost unheard of.
Despite this, ESPN NFL draft expert Todd McShay predicted a big-time swap between the Kansas City Chiefs and Los Angeles Chargers in round one of the late-April affair. The recent mock draft was released on April 5, teasing a Chiefs trade-up for Alabama wide receiver Jameson Williams on Twitter.
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McShay Mends Fences in AFC West
In a trade labeled, “Chiefs move up for a pass-catcher,” the draft expert sent LAC’s No. 17 selection to Kansas City for Nos. 29, 62 and 94 — meaning the price of 12 round-one spots in the order was an extra second and a third.
According to the NFL draft value chart, this would be a slight overpay by Chiefs GM Brett Veach, but that’s the price of doing business inside the division. The exact valuation of the trade would be:
- Chargers: 950 points (one pick).
- Chiefs: 1,048 points (three picks).
McShay explained this wild theory, reasoning:
The Chargers pulled out the checkbook in free agency, improving just about every area of the defense. That spending included defensive tackles Austin Johnson and Sebastian Joseph-Day, which obviously alleviates some of the run-blocking worries. That’s not to say Jordan Davis — a mock favorite at No. 17 over the past two months — won’t be the move, but the Chargers could be looking to pivot to the offensive line after those signings. And with Trevor Penning off the board, they might try to move down and pick up extra draft capital.
The Chiefs, flush with picks, could be looking to get ahead of some receiver-seeking franchises, like the Eagles, Saints, Packers, Patriots and Titans. In this mock deal, the Chargers get two additional selections in the first three rounds: Nos. 29, 62 and 94. The Chiefs, meanwhile, get the wideout they want to replace Tyreek Hill at No. 17 and still have Nos. 30, 50 and 103 over the first two days.
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Fallout of Trade
As mentioned in the open, this deal allowed Veach to move up and snag Williams, the top WR talent in the draft before his torn ACL. The Alabama product was expected to drop after his injury, but a March update from NFL insider Adam Schefter has the dynamic playmaker rising once again.
He tweeted on March 2: “Alabama standout WR Jameson Williams is said to be ahead of schedule in his rehab roughly six weeks after knee surgery, per his doctors.”
At the time, Williams told reporters (per NFL writer Nick Shook): “I’ve been walking without the brace for two weeks, without the crutch for three weeks. Hopefully, things keep going on this track, and I’ll be back as soon as possible.”
Williams has been the receiver most commonly compared to Hill because of the speed, ability to find cracks in the defense, and explosiveness needed to take the top off a defense. The major difference? The Alabama prospect is 6-foot-2, a full four inches taller than Hill.
McShay detailed the pick: “Williams tore his ACL in the national championship game, and his impact on the Chiefs’ offense wouldn’t come in Week 1. But there isn’t a more explosive wide receiver in the class. He can take the top off the defense and run under any deep ball. Does that sound like a fit for a certain NFL team? Kansas City could feast on a Patrick Mahomes-Williams connection for a long time and keep pace with the AFC West’s other rapidly improving teams.”
The selection could prove to be a steal for the Chiefs in their efforts to rebuild this offense overnight, but would the Chargers really hand KC a new weapon for Patrick Mahomes?
The trade did present a win-win for both rivals as McShay mocked promising interior offensive lineman Zion Johnson (Boston College) to Los Angeles, as well as offensive tackle Abraham Lucas (Washington State) in the second and an unnamed third-round entity, but it’s still hard to see a deal like this ever occurring inside the division with so much at stake.