Chargers Draft Prospectus XVIII

Still a need, the San Diego Chargers hope by next week they will have the problem solved. The Draft is upon us and the Bolts are looking for answers to a question, no not a question, but a serious issue. Fixing the 32nd ranked pass defense, worst in the NFL last season and San Diego's director of player personnel Buddy Nix spent plenty of time getting to know this player.

Small schools seem to be the theme regarding cornerbacks, and boy do the Chargers need help at that position. Enter Drayton Florence of Tuskegee who possesses all the talent to be very special one day.

Florence is an unheralded athlete who began his career at Tennessee-Chattanooga before transferring to Tuskegee as a junior. The four-year starter collected 161 tackles (116 solos) with ten stops behind the line of scrimmage, 13 interceptions for 258 yards in returns, 32 pass deflections and three fumble recoveries in 44 collegiate games.

During his two years at Tuskegee Florence amassed 74 tackles (51 solos) with 23 pass break-ups, six stops for losses and nine interceptions for 251 yards in returns. His three touchdowns on interception returns set a school career-record for the Golden Tigers.

Florence also has seen limited duty returning punts and kickoffs back in 2001.

"Watch out for the Florence kid," one scout said. "He could end up in that first round."

Drayton Florence
Cornerback
Tuskegee
Ht: 6-0 Wt: 198
Arm: 31 1/8"
Hand: 9"
40 Times: 4.47/4.43
Vertical Jump: 35"
Broad Jump: 10' 3.5"
Bench Press: 18
Bench (high): 330 pounds

"Good sized cornerback and a top athlete with a large upside for the next level. Technically sound, strong at the point and out muscles or physically defeats opponents to break up the pass. Displays a good move on the ball, foot speed and the ability to quickly close on the pass. Offers the raw ability to potentially be a starter down the line in the NFL but needs a lot of work and repetition to achieve that level." Tony Pauline-TFY Draft Preview


Florence is a smooth-looking athlete with good linear speed and instincts, can plant and drive out of his backpedal once he reads the play. He has the closing quickness needed to recover when beaten and enough speed to accelerate out of his breaks.

Florence can read, recognize and react to the plays directed at him instantly. He does a nice job of shading the ball carrier to make the play against the run. He has natural hands for the interception.

Florence spent time training at Randy Moss' speed camp although he refused to comment on if he ran against him.

He admitted he got kicked off the Tennessee-Chattanooga team during his sophomore season after getting in to a fight with a teammate who wound up breaking his jaw.

"I spent about two hours with Buddy Nix (San Diego's director of player personnel)," Florence said. "We talked about a variety of things and watched film for about two hours. It was a great meeting, and I am really glad he took the time to sit down with me."

Maybe that testimonial from Florence is too obvious for us to believe the Chargers have him as a target. Nah, ‘nuff said…

Special thanks to Tony Pauline who contributed to this report.

Denis Savage can be reached at safage@cox.net or via the following link: Denis Savage

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