Chargers Draft Board: Round 1

This is the moment; the first round is upon us. As you know AJ Smith has targeted 7 to 8 players per round. 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. The first round is littered with potential that San Diego hopes to tap.

They say 50% of round one will turn out to be "busts". Only half the time will the player chosen pan out. Not great odds. Great drafts produce great teams, so it is imperative to strike gold in the first round. Sitting in the middle of the round the options appear to be lean, or do they to the Chargers?

Every team in the league has a different looking board. Some have only nine players who deserve first round grades, and it is hard to find fault with that. Yet good players can be mined in every round, so the truth is 16 players should be on that list in the first round.

Before we even get to the players on the "official" board, we must first take into account the players that figure to be long gone. The Chargers are smart, they know the facts, yet before they pick they will check out this quick list to make sure none of them are available (listed in order of preference):

Terrance Newman/Marcus Trufant- The Chargers need another corner, especially in the tough AFC West, yet neither figure to be on the board at 15

Dewayne Robertson/Jimmy Kennedy/Kevin Williams/Johnathan Sullivan- The Bolts need help on the interior of the defensive line to take pressure off the cornerbacks and free up the linebackers to make more plays.

Jordan Gross- A Pro Bowler in the making. He is that good.

Now with the formalities out of the way let's look at realistic options. Some may say Kevin Williams and Johnathan Sullivan are realistic to a degree and I pray you are right but the truth may not bear that out. Chargers Update has done a bio on each and the Chargers interest in them is well documented.

On to the board!

Chargers First 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 1st round. The players the Bolts pick will be based solely on how the Draft board falls.

Priorities may have to be thrown out of the window for this draft. The best available player will certainly not be a cornerback or defensive tackle, yet the Chargers might take a player many consider a reach, while others may have them rated appropriately.

Troy Polamalu
USC
Safety
Ht: 5-10 Wt: 203

Three-year starter. Saw extensive action at safety and linebacker as a true freshman. All-Conference selection last year posting 68 tackles, 1 interception and 4 pass defenses, also accumulating 12 tackles behind the line of scrimmage. Suffered with an ankle sprain all last season. Totaled 118 tackles with 3 interceptions as a junior, garnering All-America and All-Conference honors.

"The thing I like about the safety position is the freedom," said Polamalu. "You can see more of the field and have more room to react and make plays."

Over the last week or two fans have been clamoring for Polamalu to be selected and they may not be as far off as the think. Mel Kiper lists Troy in his top 14. A local product, a Samoan, see the trend here?

Eric Steinbach
Offensive Guard/Tackle
Iowa
Ht: 6-6 Wt: 290
Four year starter used at both guard positions. All-Conference and All-America selection as a senior, also being named Big 10 Offensive Lineman of the Year. First team All-League choice as a junior. Used extensively and successfully at left tackle during the Senior Bowl.

He has the versatility to be an immediate starter at the guard position and move out to tackle anytime in his career. That versatility has the Chargers mouth watering and they have to consider keeping LaDainian Tomlinson happy past next season when Damion McIntosh and Vaughn Parker may be gone. He may be the safest pick of the bunch.

William Joseph
Miami
Defensive Tackle
Ht: 6-5 Wt: 308

First team All Big East selection as a senior after 51 tackles, a team high 16 tackles for loss and 5 quarterback sacks. Led the team in tackles for loss and quarterback sacks the prior season, totaling 61/19/10 and awarded second team All-League honors.

The enigma. He could be the most talented player in the draft if his head is consistently in the game. That said the Bolts must figure out if they can tap the talent, and if it is worth the headache.

Kwame Harris
Stanford
Offensive Tackle
Ht: 6-6 Wt: 305

Junior eligible who started the past two seasons at right tackle after being used in a reserve role on the left side as a true freshman. First team All-Conference choice last year after winning second team honors as a sophomore.

Has been losing steam of late yet the Chargers have him high on their wish list. One concern is Marty sees offensive guard as a priority while AJ is said to be leaning towards an offensive tackle. The key is conformity.

Ty Warren
Clemson
Defensive Tackle
Ht: 6-4 Wt: 298

Leader on the A&M defensive line three years running. Struggled through an injury plagued senior campaign and missed starts late in the season yet finished with 52 tackles, 12 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks. First team All-Conference choice as a junior after 41/12/4. Moved in with the first unit as a sophomore and produced 38/16/4.

Injuries have kept Warren down despite the heart he displayed playing through the pain and various ailments. He could be among the best defensive tackles taken or he could continue his history of injuries into the pros and be a thorn in the side.

Andre Woolfolk
Oklahoma
Cornerback
Ht: 6-1 Wt: 193

Second team All-Conference choice as a senior after totaling 26 tackles, 2 interceptions and 5 pass defenses. Played extensively on both sides of the ball as a junior, registering 19/1/2 on defense with 6 receptions for 134 yards as a receiver, garnering Honorable Mention All Big 12 honors.

In the last 24 hours Woolfolk is rising up the boards and considered the "next" cornerback to be taken. His size would be an asset in the secondary but he is still a project having recently moved to the cornerback position. Still he offers intriguing possibilities.

Boss Bailey
Georgia
Linebacker
Ht: 6-3 Wt: 233

All-Conference selection as a senior after tying for the team lead in tackles with 114, also posting 9.5 tackles for loss, 6 sacks and breaking up 4 passes. Second team All-Conference choice as a junior in 2001 totaling 65/6/1, breaking up 10 passes. Sat out the 2000 season after tearing his right anterior cruciate ligament on the first play of the season.

A position of strength for the Bolts, Bailey would add to it. Marty is in love with Boss but odds are the draft values among the candidates are the same and need will come into play.

Solomon Page visited the Bolts this week and that could play into their thinking. At the same time the safest pick is Eric Steinbach. His versatility would help build a dominate offensive line for years to come and keep LT happy and healthy.

Troy Polamalu is the fans choice and he will be a special player. He is a local product and would erase any remembrance of Rodney Harrison and become a mainstay in the Chargers secondary for years to come while taking over the role of community leader that Junior Seau was.

If they could only trade down…or maybe their board shows more value than ours. We will find out today.

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 safage@cox.net or via the following link: Denis Savage

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