The San Diego Chargers finished their 2012 season with a 7-9 record which was the third season in a row that they missed the playoffs, and was the first time they finished a season with a losing record since 2003.
San Diego had major issues with their rushing attack, which ranked 31st in yards per attempt and tied for last with four rushing touchdowns. San Diego’s offensive line allowed 49 sacks which ranked fourth in the NFL. The Lightning Bolts also ranked 22nd in receiving yards and 30th in yards per reception last season.
ESPN experts such as Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay expect San Diego’s front office to choose an offensive lineman with the 11th pick in round one of the 2013 NFL Draft, but another option should be considered. San Diego’s front office should give up their first round pick to acquire New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz. San Diego would have to give up a first round pick because New York placed a first-round tender on Cruz.
Cruz ranked third in the NFL with 1,536 receiving yards in 2011, ranked sixth in touchdown receptions and ninth in receptions. Cruz finished his 2012 season with 86 receptions, 1,092 receiving yards and 10 TD receptions. Brandon Marshall, A.J. Green and Dez Bryant were the only players with more receptions, receiving yards and TD receptions than Cruz in 2012.
There are potentially great offensive linemen in the draft who San Diego could select like former Oklahoma Sooners left tackle Lane Johnson or former North Carolina Tar Heels guard Jonathan Cooper. While this would improve San Diego’s offensive line, it does not matter how many linemen are put around Philip Rivers if he does not have a play maker at the wide receiver position.
San Diego tight end Antonio Gates has had seasons like a wide receiver, but he went from 78.2 receiving yards per game in 2010 to 59.8 in 2011 to 35.9 in 2012. Gates was still productive in terms of TD receptions with seven in 2012, but he is declining and will be 33 years old when the 2013 season begins.
Malcom Floyd is productive, but he has a history of injury problems and is not a number one option. Robert Meachem is coming off a terrible 2012 season and he is not a number one option either.
Cruz has one year left on his deal is 26 years old, so if he agrees to a contract extension prior to the trade, San Diego would have an explosive wide receiver for the present and future to pair with Rivers.