Senior Bowl: Five Players to Watch

Senior Bowl activities begin this week in Mobile, Ala., and Chargers coaches and scouts will be in attendance to get a first-hand look at some of the nation’s top senior prospects. will be in Mobile, as well; here are the five prospects we are most excited to watch.

1. OT T.J. Clemmings (Pittsburgh)

A former defensive lineman with incredible athleticism, Clemmings reminds me of a former Charger with the same background (Damion McIntosh). He’s played right tackle the last couple years, which is where he could theoretically start for the Chargers (with D.J. Fluker moving inside to guard). He is an elite run blocker, which should instantly boost San Diego’s struggling ground game, and he has the wingspan and nimbleness to hold up in pass protection. He plays with a mean streak and all-out hustle, routinely making blocks on the second level.

Clemmings is a possibility for the Chargers with the No. 17 overall pick.

2. NT Danny Shelton (Washington)

The Chargers have lacked a true nose tackle since Jamal Williams left town; drafting Shelton would end that drought in dramatic fashion. A space eater at 6-foot-2, 339 pounds, Shelton racked up an unbelievable 88 tackles as a senior, including 16.5 for a loss. He also shows amazing quickness for his size, which helped him rack up nine sacks in 2014.

Shelton, like Clemmings, would probably cost San Diego its first-round pick. Although unlike offensive tackles, nose tackles are often candidates to slide on draft day. Remember last year, when many mock drafts had San Diego picking NT Louis Nix in the first round? Instead, Nix went to the Houston Texans in Round 3.

3. RB David Cobb (Minnesota)

Assuming (hoping?) the Chargers do not re-sign Ryan Mathews, they will look to draft a power running back to fill that spot in the rotation. Cobb could be the ideal candidate, as he is a tough runner who battles for yards after contact. He is capable of carrying a heavy workload and is the kind of workhorse back who gets stronger as the game goes on. He doesn’t have elite speed, but with change-of-pace backs Danny Woodhead and Branden Oliver set to return, that should not be much of a hindrance.

The Chargers should be able to get Cobb in the fourth round, possibly later.

4. OG Tre Jackson (Florida State)

No matter where Fluker plays next season, more help is needed on the interior offensive line. One candidate looking to prove himself at the Senior Bowl is Jackson, a dominant run blocker who still needs some polish in pass protection. That being said, he has the agility and quickness to hold his own. He could come in and compete with for a starting job right away.

At this point, Jackson projects as a third-round selection.

5. S Cody Prewitt (Ole Miss)

Prewitt played better as a junior than he did as a senior. His 2014 campaign still included 60 tackles and a pair of interceptions, but he was not as physical as he was the year prior, leading some to suggest he was protecting himself with his eyes on the draft. Starting this week in Mobile, Prewitt must hold nothing back and reassert himself as the elite player he was once appeared to be (he forced eight turnovers in 2013, including six interceptions). If he can do that, he could provide valuable depth -- and possibly more -- for the Chargers.

At this point, Prewitt should be a Day Three pick.

Which NFL Draft prospects are you high on? Discuss inside our draft talk forum.

Michael Lombardo is a long-time contributor to the team. His analysis has been published by the NFL Network, Fox Sports and MySpace Sports. He has followed the Chargers for more than 18 years and covered the team since '03. You can see more of his updates by following him on twitter.

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