Analyzing the Chargers' Day Three Picks

After starting the draft with three defensive picks, the third day was all about offense. A.J. Smith landed two skill players to play behind Antonio Gates and Ryan Mathews while rebuilding depth on the offensive line. We analyze all Saturday's selections with a four-category breakdown.

TE Ladarius Green, Louisiana-Lafayette (Rd 4, Pick 110)

The Stats Say: A four-year contributor, Green finished his college career with 148 catches for 2,202 yards and 22 touchdowns. Fifteen of those scores came in his final two seasons. He averaged 18.0 yards per catch as a junior, demonstrating his big-play ability.

What To Like: Green is an excellent athlete with the speed to create mismatches against linebackers. He has excellent hands and can make tough catches against tight coverage, even in the red zone. He can line up all over the field and gives the Bolts an exciting complement to Antonio Gates. Like Gates, he is a smooth athlete who can get a clean release off the line and lose defenders in space. His ability to gain yards after the catch is superb.

What Not To Like: Green (6 foot 6, 238 lbs.) is undersized as a blocker. Although he made strides in that area as his career progressed -- he can deliver crack-back blocks and seal the edge -- he still has a long way to go. He has a history of being dogged by nagging injuries, a trait he shares with far too many members of San Diego's offense (think Ryan Mathews and Malcom Floyd). Because of his small-school experience, he is technically raw and will have to develop on the job.

Value or Need? The Bolts were keeping their eyes open for a receiving tight end, but there is no way this need should have taken precedence over cornerback or offensive tackle. San Diego already has quality backups in Randy McMichael and Kory Sperry. There is also Dante Rosario, who joined the team as a free agent and has a skill-set similar to Green's. This selection figures to bump Sperry and possibly Rosario off the roster.

OG Johnnie Troutman, Penn State (Rd 5, Pick 149)


OG Johnnie Troutman
Justin K. Aller/Getty
The Stats Say: Troutman (6 foot 4, 327 lbs.) started 32 games over his final three seasons. He logged more than 1,000 snaps in the process yet never allowed a sack. He had his best year as a senior, as he was not penalized and did not permit any QB pressures.

What To Like: He has outstanding size and strength. Once he locks onto defenders, he drives them back and eliminates them from the play. He has the ability to pull effectively and get out to the second level. He is a technician and a complete player with experience in a big-time program, so he should be ready to compete from the get-go.

What Not To Like: He sometimes struggles to win one-on-one battles in pass protection, especially against quicker defensive linemen. He has a character red flag stemming from a DUI charge in February 2011. GM A.J. Smith puts a premium on character, so he no doubt did his research and came away satisfied, but it is something worth watching.

Value or Need? San Diego was in the market for a guard after Kris Dielman retired earlier this offseason. Tyronne Green will replace Dielman in the starting lineup, so Troutman will replenish depth. Fourth-year swingman Brandyn Dombrowski and 2011 sixth-round pick Steve Schilling, who each started two games in 2011, also provide depth at guard.

C David Molk, Michigan (Rd 7, Pick 226)


C David Molk
Leon Halip/Getty
The Stats Say: Molk started 41 career games at center. He was an AP All-America first team selection as a senior and was named All-Big Ten first team in 2010 and 2011.

What To Like: He was one of the most productive centers in college football. He has a solid base and anchors effectively. He uses his hands well and has incredible upper-body strength, as evidenced by the 41 bench-press reps he did at the NFL Combine. He boasts a high football IQ and has a love for the game that is contagious. Also, he is excellent at delivering shotgun snaps, which is a huge asset in San Diego, as Philip Rivers loves to work out of the shotgun.

What Not To Like: He is undersized (6 foot, 298 lbs.) and has short arms. He does not consistently generate enough push to power the running game and can struggle against larger, more powerful defensive linemen. He must make strides in identifying and picking up blitzes.

Value or Need? This was strictly a value pick. The Chargers re-signed starting center Nick Hardwick to a new three-year deal this offseason. They are also high on second-year man Colin Baxter. It was no surprise A.J. Smith spent another late-round pick on an offensive lineman -- he loves to do that -- but with a more pressing need at tackle, it is odd he spent back-to-back picks on interior offensive linemen.

RB Edwin Baker, Michigan State (Rd 7, Pick 250)


RB Edwin Baker
Joe Robbins/Getty
The Stats Say: Baker looked like a game-breaker as a sophomore in 2010, carrying 207 times for 1,201 yards (5.8 ypc) and 13 TDs. Those numbers dipped in a major way last season as he lost his perch atop the depth chart; he finished the season with 170 carries for 665 yards and five scores. He only caught 15 passes during his three years at Michigan State, so that is an area of his game that will need some work.

What To Like: He is a strong inside runner with the patience to let his blocks develop. He can fight through traffic at the line and run away from linebackers at the second level. His speed also permits him to turn the corner. He runs with a low center of gravity and a powerful forward lean. It also helps that he is a durable player with high character and leadership qualities.

What Not To Like: It's disconcerting that his role diminished at Michigan State. As his snaps went down so did his productivity -- he averaged less than 4 yards per carry in 2011. He is not a game-breaker and is not decisive enough. He was a non-factor in the passing game (although he has flashed the ability to do well in pass protection). Finally, it is worrisome that he opted to declare for the draft after such a disappointing junior season rather than come back and attempt to improve his stock.

Value or Need? The Chargers definitely addressed a need with this selection, as the No. 2 running back job is currently up for grabs (with Curtis Brinkley holding the position for now by default). However, because the Chargers waited until the seventh round to pick up a running back, they will likely be forced to add a veteran free agent, as well. Joseph Addai and Cadillac Williams are among the top candidates available. Despite this being a need pick, the Chargers also got excellent value; most experts had Baker projected as a fourth- or fifth-round pick.



What did you think of the Ladarius Green selection? Discuss in the message boards.




Michael Lombardo is 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 16 years and covered the team since 2003. You can see more of his updates by following him on twitter.


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