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Chargers were desperate to deal for an “impact player”

Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon poses for photos after being selected by the San Diego Chargers as the 15th pick in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft, Thursday, April 30, 2015, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)


In a first round with so few trades, the first one remains a bit of a head scratcher.

The Chargers made the first of just two deals last night, when they gave up their 2015 fourth-rounder and 2016 fifth-rounders to move up two spots with the 49ers so they could draft running back Melvin Gordon 15th overall.

Which is fine, as they obviously needed Gordon after losing Ryan Mathews in free agency. But that’s a steep price considering the 49ers obviously weren’t going to take him (or they would have), and the Texans, picking 16th, seemed unlikely to. Houston took Wake Forest cornerback Kevin Johnson, adding secondary help to what could be one of the league’s top defenses.

But Chargers General Manager Tom Telesco justified the decision by saying Gordon was the last of the seven “impact players” they had targeted in the 2015 NFL Draft, obviously afraid the Texans might have bailed out of their spot to someone wanting Gordon.

“He’s an exciting, electric football player,” Telesco said, via Michael Gehlken of U-T San Diego. “We need him and more guys like that. ... You don’t like to give away picks, but sometimes you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do to get an impact player. It’s a tough decision.”

The deal leaves the Chargers without its fourth- and seventh-rounders this weekend, giving them a league-low five total picks.