Chargers Draft Board: Round 7

AJ Smith said in his Pre-Draft press conference that, "We'll have a group of players at each round, a plethora of players, anywhere between 7 or 8 players and we will be prepared to see how it unfolds." Based on information we have gathered regarding the list of hopefuls, we take a look at the Chargers Draft board and explain why each player is on that board. Today is round 7 and we will work our way back to round 1 as we lead up to the Draft. Round 1 will be out late Friday night.

Round 7, a round where you hope to get a little lucky, and set yourself up for undrafted free agent pickups. The Chargers have spent the last few years scouting guys no one else does. They even bring these guys in for interviews and tours of their facilities. Why? To get a leg up on undrafted free agency. When you get to round seven, there are varying opinions on the talent levels of these guys.

Most are seen as inconsistent, and the hope is one develops some consistency over time. These projects also lack some fundamentals, and the Bolts are looking for teachable prospects.

Oddly enough the Chargers have had more luck with the undrafted free agents than with 7th round draft picks.

Round 7 Draft Board

The board is laid out as we see it through the Chargers eyes. This interest list is to give the reader a look into what the Chargers may be thinking come the 7th round. The players the Bolts pick will be based solely on how the Draft board falls.

David Kircus
Grand Valley State
Wide Receiver
Ht: 6-1 Wt: 185

Kircus has been an All-American and first team All-Conference choice the past two seasons. He started twelve games as a senior totaling 77 catches for 1,341 yards and an amazing 35 touchdowns.

Kircus is a gifted playmaker and is known for making the big play in crunch time, but lacks the size and speed to make separation a serious concern for the next level. As a Division II receiver he is not getting the looks at the top of the Draft despite his gaudy numbers.

Kircus has seen so many visits of late his head must be spinning. He has confirmed visits with at least seven different teams, one of whom was the San Diego Chargers. The Chargers brass first spoke with Kircus during the Paradise Bowl and loved his attitude.

"I talked to James Lofton," Kircus said. "He said it is not about your weight, it's about how you play and your attitude. I told him that I would like to gain 10 pounds and get up to 195. He said 'that would be good but it is more about your attitude'."

"You have to prove yourself in camp no matter whether you were drafted in the first round or if you are a priority free agent, Kircus said. "I cannot say where I will be drafted or if I will be drafted, but hopefully I will get my chance in a camp somewhere."

Robert Mathis
Alabama A&M
Ht: 6-0 Wt: 227

Mathis led the SWAC in sacks (20), Tackles for Loss (31) and Forced Fumbles (10). His twenty sacks set a new NCAA I-AA record. He is projected as a linebacker at the NFL level after playing his college career at defensive end.

Mathis is a little small but has the athletic numbers, intelligence and tenacity to succeed at a new position. He is a bit of a project but will garner interest in the last round.

Mathis visited with the Chargers last week and has seen a few more visits from other teams since then.

Quinton Mikell
Boise State
Ht: 5-10 Wt: 206

Mikell was the WAC Defensive Player of the Year last season after totaling 97 tackles with 5.5 tackles for loss, 4 sacks, 1 interception and 11 pass defenses.

Mikkel is an excellent run stuffer who lacks solid coverage skills. Has makeup speed and could become a player after spending time on special teams. Also returned punts at Boise State.

The Chargers had Mikkel in for a visit two weeks past and like what they saw.

Derek Watson
South Carolina State
Running Back
Ht: 6-0 Wt: 233

Watson has all the talent in the world, but his off the field problems are more than most can overcome. Off the field incidents include traffic charges, possession of marijuana and punching a woman in the face. He was kicked off the team at South Carolina after a 1,000 yard season as a sophomore, and averaged over 5 yards per carry in limited action as a senior. He also handled kick returning duties.

Watson is more a power runner, someone with some beef who can slide through or power over defenders to get the tougher yards. He would be ideal as a backup to LaDainian Tomlinson as he can spell him on third and short and provide a power runner as a change of pace from the elusive LT.

The Chargers got in their interview time with Watson during the combines. Although he said all the right things, actions speak louder than words.

Antonio Gates
Kent State
Tight End
Ht: 6-5 Wt: 250

Despite not playing football for more than four years, Gates could end up as a surprise second-day draft pick. Where Gates wowed Chargers tight ends coach Tim Brewster this past week at a Kent State University workout was his innate pass-catching ability.

"He has all the qualities you look for in a tight end," said Brewster. "His opportunity in basketball is probably less than great because of his height, but you put his skills into football and he becomes a marquee kind of athlete.

"Antonio has a chance in the right situation to be a very good pro. What is critical to him, if he makes the commitment to football, he has to get with the right team and the right system that is going to utilize him as an athlete and not try to make him into a one-dimensional blocking tight end. That's not going to enhance his skills. The best thing this kid has going is his ability to be an athlete, run, catch, stretch the field and really bring a nice competitive nature to the team.

"I wish you'd tell everybody in the NFL that the Chargers thought he was horrible."

Scott Kooistra
North Carolina State
Offensive Tackle
Ht: 6-6 Wt: 316

Two year starter at tackle after seeing extensive action as a sophomore. Played left tackle for the Wolfpack but projects to the strong side at the next level.

Kooistra is a thick, powerfully built lineman best blocking for the run. Possesses a strong base and technically sound. Would do well in the power running system the Bolts employ but would have trouble keeping pace with LT on the outside as he does not block well in space.

Kooistra showed well at the Combine and looked as though he had improved footwork which is where the Chargers showed interest in him.

Cato June
Ht: 5-11 Wt: 220

June was a two year starter who posted 53 tackles with 4 tackles for loss and 2 sacks last season. He played versus top notch talent in the Big Ten. His best asset is defending the run as he lacks speed and range. He also struggles in man-to-man coverage and would be better utilized in zone coverage and does not allow receivers to get past him.

June missed the entire 2000 season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee which hindered his development. He is a very good special teams player and is a leader on the field.

June is seen as a possible back-up at strong safety whose special team's abilities could be the determining factor if he makes it at the next level. The Chargers spoke with him at the Michigan Pro Day in March.

The opinions expressed here are solely those of Chargers Update based on intense research and player visits and interviews the Chargers have conducted. The actual board may be different than it appears here.

Denis Savage can be reached at or via the following link: Denis Savage

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