The quarterback market continues to shift across the first day of free agency Wednesday, but the Los Angeles Chargers have apparently seen enough.
According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the Chargers are fine with the current state of their QB room and will start Tyrod Taylor in 2020.
What do the Chargers have in a starter like Taylor? They've certainly got a veteran with experience. Taylor started 43 games in three seasons with the Bills from 2015 to 2017 — two of those seasons came with Anthony Lynn as the assistant head coach in Buffalo. Following the head coaching turnover from Rex Ryan to Sean McDermott, however, Taylor was ousted for Cleveland and then on to Los Angeles, where he reunited with Lynn.
At the time of Taylor's signing in 2019, he was viewed as a high-caliber insurance policy to an aging Philip Rivers and a potential bridge beyond Rivers' final season with the Chargers. The first half of that expectation has come to fruition as Rivers played a poor season and has since moved on to the Indianapolis Colts.
Is Taylor the QB you want starting for your team? Taylor is a good example of the middling quarterback valley: a player too good to get you an early pick in the draft and too bad to actually give you a quality shot of competing unless everything around him is great. Some surmise that this is where the San Francisco 49ers might be finding themselves right now. They need an elite defense and the league's best running game to get Jimmy Garoppolo into the playoffs, and even then, couldn't last long enough to beat the better quarterback in Super Bowl 54.
As such with Taylor the Chargers' starter in 2020, they might be okay. They'll win a few games and lose a few games. They won't beat the best teams, will beat some bad ones and end up in the middle of the pack.
Los Angeles needs to draft a quarterback at the top of this class. If the Chargers aren't going to grab a veteran with a higher upside, like Cam Newton, they don't have another choice. Taylor's play in 2020 will keep them out of the top 10, and they'll either be forced to trade up for a QB — spending multiple picks that they need for other positions — or they'll be forced to tank with an even worse starting quarterback for the sake of an early pick in 2021.
Now is the moment to attack the position. Both the draft class and the rest of the NFL teams have the Chargers in a good spot. Depending on who you ask, there's anywhere from two to four quarterbacks who are worth an early selection: Cincinnati and Miami are going to take two of them, at No. 1 and No. 5 overall, respectively. The general consensus is LSU’s Joe Burrow going first overall and Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa rounding out the top five, although the Dolphins’ pick is still up for debate.
The alternative for Miami is Oregon's Justin Herbert, viewed as the third QB by most in this class. Herbert may end up the pick at No. 5, but the reality is the Dolphins can pick only one and the other — as well as Utah State’s Jordan Love — will be available at No. 6.
Teams don’t want to enter the draft with a desperate need, but if the Chargers are serious about bypassing the current landscape of veteran NFL quarterbacks (in Newton or Jameis Winston), they will go into 2020 with certainty that they need to draft a future starter. If not, they'll consign to multiple years of middling-to-bad performance until another opportunity comes to draft a young QB and kickstart their franchise.
This is the moment for the Chargers to select a QB.