Chargers Draft Board: Round 4

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 4 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.

The fourth round, where starters can be found with regularity, and misses really hurt the development of a team. The fourth round and beyond will make up a majority of a team, and that is where scouts get their due. Unfortunately for the Chargers the last time they picked a starter from the ranks of the fourth round was back in 1993 when they selected Ray Lee Johnson.

4th Round 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 5th round. The players the Bolts pick will be based solely on how the Draft board falls.

Colin Branch
Ht: 6-0 Wt: 207

Two year starter at safety and finished his senior season with 69 tackles, 2 interceptions and 1 pass defensed. Branch is a late bloomer who saw his stock elevate after a blazing 40 time in the 4.3's.

Branch has the size and speed to make plays but never fully blossomed or stood out in any aspect of his game. He still needs refining to make it at the next level, but his workout numbers suggest he needs better teaching.

James Lofton was at the Stanford Pro Day to interview Branch, among other things. Lofton also spent time with Teyo Johnson, although he will not appear on our future list, it is quite significant.

Antonio Garay
Boston College
Defensive End
Ht: 6-3 Wt: 296

Coming off his junior year, his 2002 spring grade from the scouting services suggested he was a first-round talent. Garay played in six games as a senior, totaling 34 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss and 5 sacks before breaking his ankle against Virginia Tech. Started the first eight games of the 2001 season, registering 57/9/5 before suffering a neck injury which sidelined him the remainder of the year.

Because of all his injuries teams couldn't fully evaluate him. He is finally finishing up his rehab just in time for the Draft.

Yet when Boston College had its Pro Day, it seemed everyone was there to see Garay perform. The Chargers sent scouts to watch him, but he was in such high demand, not many teams had a chance to sit down with him.

Ben Johnson
Offensive Tackle
Ht: 6-7 Wt: 320

Johnson was a four year starter who saw most of his action at left tackle after playing sparingly on the right side as both a red-shirt freshman and sophomore. One of the top five linemen in the nation coming out of high school, Johnson has not lived up to his hype.

Not overly mobile, Johnson projects to the right side in the NFL. "I have to work on my explosiveness and my pass-blocking," Johnson said.

Offensive line coach Hudson Houck was in attendance at the Wisconsin Pro Day and spent time looking at film with Johnson and interviewing him.

Wade Smith
Ht: 6-4 Wt: 294

Smith is a former tight end that moved to the line as a junior and proceeded to start the next two seasons. Smith offers a lot of potential at the next level as either a guard or possibly a left tackle. He is a solid developmental prospect who could initially be used as a tight end in run blocking situations and eventually grow into a starter.

The Chargers had expressed a concern as to whether he can effectively gain weight, but he bulked up from 274 pounds to 296 before the Combine and still ran the 40-yard dash in 5.1 seconds.

"I've gained weight since the Combine and I'm still gaining at a moderate rate," said Smith, who claims he has never had a problem gaining or losing weight. "But once I get to my team and they tell me where they want me to be, I'll just get there and stay there and it won't be a problem."

Shane Walton
Notre Dame
Ht: 5-10 Wt: 185

A San Diego native, Walton had 65 tackles, 7 interceptions and 7 passes broken up as a senior. He was one of 5 players in the running for the Nagurski award given to the best defensive players in the nation.

Walton is a big play cornerback. He has great vision and knowledge of his opponent and uses that to make some highlight reel plays. Sometimes he is overzealous and will get burnt bad. Walton also returned punts for Notre Dame.

The Chargers think Walton would nicely compliment Quentin Jammer and after losing a hometown hero, Junior Seau, may look to bring another into the fold. The Chargers have maintained contact with Walton through the year as they do with many local products. Clifton Smith
Ht: 6-2 Wt: 253

Second team All-Conference choice as a senior after posting 137 tackles with 15 tackles for loss, 2 sacks and registering his only interception in college. Smith is a talented run defender who appears lost in pass coverage, thus his drop in the rankings despite an enormous amount of tackles.

"I know I will succeed in the NFL," Smith stated. "The only thing that as changed in my mind over the past few months is that I see more and understand more that the NFL is a business and there aren't any guarantees in the Not For Long league."

That attitude has San Diego thinking he could develop into an every down player, but he will certainly start out as a contributor on running downs.

Bryan Scott Penn State
Ht: 6-0 Wt: 214

Scott was a full-time starter the past two seasons who also earned six starts as a true sophomore. He posted 71 tackles with 4 interceptions and 10 pass defenses last season. Scott projects to safety after playing as a cornerback in college. He lacks the fluid movement to stay with receivers and plays better with his eyes facing the quarterback.

Scott went into his interviews with a mindset. "I'm not stressed," Scott said. "Not nervous. I'm just treating this like a job interview, where it's most important to be prepared."

The Chargers feel Scott has some nice tools that could be developed down the road as they continually look for help to their secondary. The Bolts had a few scouts at the Penn State Pro Day, and while most of the other prospects there were getting the once over, Chargers scouts put out feelers on Scott.

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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