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Chargers GM Joe Hortiz doesn't want 'fair trade' to deal No. 5 pick: 'They have to make it attractive for us'

With the 2024 NFL Draft now only a week away from kicking off in Detroit, front of mind for Joe Hortiz in his first season as general manager of the Los Angeles Chargers is how to best utilize the team's No. 5 overall pick, and the negotiation power that comes with that high-value selection.

While the Bolts could stay where they are in the draft order and use the pick to select who they believe to be one of the five best players in this year's prospect class, Hortiz and head coach Jim Harbaugh have not discounted the opportunity available to them to exchange it for a lucrative selection for a bevy of later picks.

However, Hortiz said Thursday in his pre-draft press conference that the Chargers won't move down for just any deal, emphasizing that to their eyes it should be an exchange that they just can't say no to.

"There's certainly, 'It's too good of a deal,' because of what you're getting back. They have to make it attractive for us to move away from those players. The whole, 'It's a fair trade, it's a wash,' I don't think that's a trade that we're interested in," Hortiz said, via team transcripts. "If we're going to trade away from great players, there has to be a reason, in terms of value, for us. Certainly, there are going to be more great players in the draft, but it has to make sense to you and it has to make sense to the team that is wanting to come up."

Adding to the intrigue and the possible value of the pick in his mind is the knowledge that if most or all of the first four picks are used on quarterbacks, as many anticipate, that No. 5 pick becomes even more desirable for teams either trying to get in on the early QB action, or interested in nabbing the best non-QB player in this year's draft class.

That could make a possible trade package for the Chargers even harder to pass up.

"We believe we have the first pick in the draft. I know there are going to be four picks that go before us, but we believe that. If four quarterbacks go, we believe, strongly, that we have the first pick in the draft," Hortiz said. "What are teams willing to give us? Obviously, we know it's the fifth pick and people are going to be trading on that scope. It's got to be good value for us. Does it have to be 'blown away?' What is 'blown away?' I don't know the answer to that."

As for the Chargers' plans for making their top selection, whether at No. 5 or elsewhere, Hortiz said that the team would be focusing more on selecting the "best player available" instead of solely going by positional need, noting that even with a role that appears to be secure, you can be "one play away from needing a position."

"Like I said, we want to add depth," he said. "If you look at it based on need, you're never just one player away, ever. I've learned that from my predecessors, [Ravens executive vice president] Ozzie Newsome and [Ravens executive vice president/general manager] Eric DeCosta, and I believe that. When you get a chance to add a great player, you add them. That's how we're going to approach it."

The Chargers certainly have a number of options for what to use their picks on going into this year's draft, after cap space struggles led to the release of Mike Williams and Keenan Allen being traded to the Bears earlier this offseason. NFL Network's Chad Reuter currently has wide receiver, cornerback, offensive line and running back as positions of need for Los Angeles, though the last of those might have been addressed by this week's signing of RB J.K. Dobbins.

Decisions on a possible trade could go down to the wire, but no matter what direction Los Angeles goes with its first pick, all will be revealed starting April 25 in Detroit.

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