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NFL San Diego Chargers

How Alex Smith Trade Affects San Diego Chargers

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Kansas City Chiefs just got better today by agreeing to trade for San Francisco 49ers quarterback Alex Smith. Though they paid a hefty price for a backup quarterback, they will still be better in the immediate future and will certainly be able to compete with the San Diego Chargers in 2013. The trade also affects what the Chiefs and Chargers will do in the upcoming NFL Draft.

Many believed that the Chiefs would be forced to reach for quarterback Geno Smith with the first overall pick to replace the ineffective Matt Cassel. Now that they have acquired Smith, they will instead likely draft offensive tackle Luke Joeckel to protect him. That pick will undoubtedly shake up the top half of the draft.

If Joeckel does go to the Chiefs, that means there is one less tackle available for teams picking in the top half of the draft. Two other tackles, Eric Fisher and Lane Johnson, are expected to go in the top 15, and the Chargers certainly would love for at least one of them to fall to them when they pick at 11. However, the Philadelphia Eagles, Detroit Lions and Arizona Cardinals are also in need of an offensive tackle. Fisher is expected to go in the top 10 while Johnson has skyrocketed up draft boards as of late. Even he could be out of reach for San Diego.

The Chargers are desperate for help along the offensive line, particularly at left tackle. The Smith trade might force the Chargers to trade up in the first round to secure either Fisher or Johnson if they feel they absolutely need an offensive tackle.

Knowing this, the team may look to add a starting-caliber offensive tackle or two in free agency. That way, they’ll have the flexibility in the draft to take the best player available at a position of need, even if it’s not offensive tackle.

Kevin Chan is a San Diego Chargers writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.