The Los Angeles Chargers have the sixth choice in Thursday’s first round of the NFL draft amid speculation they will select a quarterback to replace Philip Rivers, their starter since 2006.
The player most mentioned in mock drafts as the Chargers choice is Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.
Other mock drafts predict the Chargers will select Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert as the successor to Rivers, who signed with the Indianapolis Colts as a free agent last month after he and the team mutually agreed that he would not be re-signed.
Some mock drafts predict the Chargers will not select a quarterback, make Tyrod Taylor their starter, and instead choose Clemson linebacker Isaiah Simmons or Georgia offensive tackle Andrew Thomas.
The coronavirus pandemic forced the NFL to cancel plans to conduct the draft in Las Vegas. Instead, all team selections will take place via videoconferencing from the homes of coaches and executives. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell will announce first-round picks from his home in Bronxville, New York.
The various restrictions prompted by the coronavirus pandemic has forced the Chargers and the league’s other teams to alter their draft preparation, including barring in-person visits by potential draft choices and conducting their pre-draft meetings with their coaching and scouting staffs by video conference.
“It’s actually gone very smoothly,” general manager Tom Telesco said in a conference call with reporters. “We feel like … we have enough information to make the picks that we need to make.”
However, the restrictions have left the Chargers and other teams with “a lot of incomplete workout information on players,” Telesco said.
“Anybody who didn’t do anything at the combine or didn’t finish their workout at the combine, we usually would get those numbers at their pro day. We don’t have that this year,” Telesco said.
The NFL conducted a mock draft Monday to familiarize personnel with the video conferencing system to be used for the draft.
In lieu of an in-person draft party, the Chargers will hold a virtual draft party from 3:30 p.m. until Goodell opens the draft around 5 p.m.
The party will be streamed on the team’s website, Chargers.com, and the team’s YouTube and Facebook Live pages and broadcast on KLAC-AM (570)
The party will include giveaways, expert analysis, interviews with current and former Chargers and a sweepstakes that includes several tiers of prizes.
Fans wishing to attend the virtual party should register at chargers.com/boltsdraftroom where they will automatically be entered in the sweepstakes.
The grand prize package includes a video call with the Chargers first-round draft choice, a custom new Chargers jersey and a football signed by the 2020 Chargers draft class.
Barring a trade down, this will be the highest the Chargers have selected since 2016 when they made Ohio State defensive end Joey Bosa the No. 3 overall choice.
This will be the third time they have chosen in the top six since 2004 when they made Eli Manning the No. 1 choice, but traded him to the New York Giants as part of a deal involving Rivers after Manning indicated he would not sign with them.
Since the start of the common draft era in 1967, seven future Hall of Famers have been the No. 6 selection — running backs Floyd Little and John Riggins, receivers James Lofton and Tim Brown and offensive tackles Jimbo Covert and Walter Jones.
More than half of the 53 players selected with the sixth pick since 1967 have made a Pro Bowl, including one-third that were selected to multiple Pro Bowls.
Among the players picked at No. 6 overall over the past 10 drafts, seven have gone on to make a Pro Bowl, including five that did so in their first three pro seasons.
In connection with the draft, the NFL will conduct a campaign raising funds for COVID-19 relief efforts. The “Draft-A-Thon” will be streamed on NFL social and digital platforms and featured in live draft coverage on ABC, ESPN, NFL Network, and ESPN Deportes Thursday through Saturday.
The Draft-A-Thon will feature a wide variety of athletes, celebrities, and personalities, including actor and comedian Kevin Hart, the rapper Quavo and country singer Kane Brown. It will be hosted by NFL Network broadcasters Rich Eisen and Deion Sanders.
The benefiting organizations are the American Red Cross, the CDC Foundation’s All of Us: Combat Coronavirus Campaign, Feeding America, Meals on Wheels America, the Salvation Army and the United Way.
All 32 NFL teams have selected one or more of these organization’s local branches to receive a portion of the funding. The Chargers selected the Red Cross and Feeding America.
The remaining funds will be distributed across the country and internationally where the needs are greatest.
Donations can be made at NFL.com/RELIEF.
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