Better to Receive
Thanks to the uncertainty regarding the CBA, the Chargers do not even know what their needs will be heading into next season. But one position the team watched closely during Senior Bowl week was wide receiver. The team had meetings with at least four receivers: Miami's Leonard Hankerson, SDSU's Vincent Brown, Nebraska's Niles Paul and Boise State's Titus Young.
The Chargers are expecting turnover at that position with Vincent Jackson, Malcom Floyd and Legedu Naanee all slated for free agency. Buster Davis, coming off another injury-shortened season, is likely to be released. Coach Norv Turner knows the Chargers will need to draft a receiver or two, which is why he and offensive coordinator Clarence Shelmon sat in the bleachers on the west side of Ladd-Peebles Stadium -- directly on top of most the receivers' workouts.
The Best-Case Scenario
The one player in Mobile who made me say, "He would look really good in lightning bolts," was California DE Cameron Jordan (6-foot-4, 285 pounds). He dominated the competition, overpowering blockers in one-on-one drills and using his quickness to collapse the pocket. The only problem is he played so well he may have put himself out of reach of the Chargers, who pick No. 18. Jordan is more likely to go somewhere between No. 11 and 15.
Another Senior Bowl defensive lineman who could interest San Diego in the first round is Baylor NT Phil Taylor, who met with Chargers scouts in Mobile. He is a powerful run stopper with the foot speed and hand quickness to move up and down the line. At 6-foot-4 and 340 pounds, he's a pure nose tackle. However, the Chargers already have two of those in Antonio Garay and Cam Thomas.
As I chronicled in this story, no defensive back had a better week than North Carolina's Kendric Burney. In fact, I have been covering the Senior Bowl for years and Burney's performance was the best by any cornerback since Daymeion Hughes in 2007. For those who don't know, that is the same Hughes who shined as San Diego's nickel back this season (he started going by his middle name, Dante, shortly into his NFL career).
Burney is a projected second-round pick, a round in which the Chargers have two selections thanks to the Antonio Cromartie trade. Ironically, the Chargers could draft Burney to replace Hughes, who is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent.
Talk all about the Chargers and their draft needs in the Insiders Draft Talk Forum.
Michael Lombardo is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and a long-time contributor to the Scout.com network. His analysis has been published by the NFL Network, Fox Sports and MySpace Sports. He has followed the Chargers for more than 15 years and covered the team since 2003. You can see more of his updates by following him on twitter.
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