Scouting the Playoffs II - Sunday

Before picking 1st in the anticipated 2004 NFL Draft the San Diego Chargers will first look to upgrade their roster via free agency. Wild-card weekend is concluded and the playoffs get down to the nitty gritty. The eight teams remaining potentially present some interesting free agents as it pertains to the Bolts. Here are the players to watch in this weekend's games...<br><br>

Colts at Chiefs

COLTS

DT Josh Williams 6/3 285- 4th NFL season The Colts third tackle is undersized but active and has starting experience. Posted 33 tackles and 1 sack this season.

Outlook: The Chargers are looking to get bigger and Williams doesn't fit the description. He is a decent player however, might be worth a look.

LB Marcus Washington 6/3 250- 4th NFL season Good pass rusher from the strongside linebacker position. Not as good in coverage as he is at blitzing. Productive player racked up 97 tackles, 6 sacks, 3 forced fumbles and 1 fumble recovery this season.

Outlook: A good player who would upgrade the bolts linebacker core. Would be a good pick up if the price is right.

CHIEFS

OT John Tait 6/6 323- 5th NFL season Can play right or left tackle but struggled a bit while pass protecting on the left side. Should be in high demand during free-agency. Excellent player.

Outlook: Would be a coup for the Chargers. Has been durable and would be a major upgrade at left tackle for years to come. Will be expensive and in demand so it won't be an easy signing.

DE Eric Hicks 6/6 280- 6th NFL season Can be a beast with help from his linemates. Posted 14 sacks in 2000. This year had 49 tackles with 5 sacks.

Outlook: The Chargers need help all over the line and Hicks could help but he plays the same position as Marcellus Wiley. Not likely the Chargers would throw him a contract.

SS Greg Wesley 6/2- 206 4th NFL season Hard hitting strong safety starting to play very well. This has been his best season by far: 104 tackles, 2 sacks and 6 INT's.

Outlook: A safety core of Wesley, Lassiter, Kiel and Milligan would turn a question mark into a strong suit. Money would have to be right but Wesley would look good in lightning bolts.

Packers at Eagles

PACKERS

OT Chad Clifton 6/5 330- 4th NFL season Young left tackle just a notch below the upper echelon tackles in the NFL. The guy that Warren Sapp injured on a blindside block. Tough player.

Outlook: Doubt the Pack will let him get away. Is young and has done a good job protecting Favre's backside. Nice fit for the Chargers but they'll have to keep their fingers crossed.

EAGLES

OG Bobbie Williams 6/3 320-4th NFL season Stepped in at RG for final 9 games of 2003. The line has played just as well, if not better, since then. Mainly a back up but has proved he can play.

Outlook: Williams could challenge for a guard spot and would, at the very least, provide depth. With all the O-line injuries he would be a welcome addition.

CB's Bobby Taylor and Troy Vincent Both are experienced veterans and combine with the Eagle safeties to form the best secondary in the league. The Eagles have two youngsters waiting in the wings so both Taylor and Vincent should be available.

Outlook: If one is available late in the offseason(which is doubtful) it would be worth a look. Signing one of these savvy veterans for a low budget contract would be a good move for the Chargers youthful secondary.

LB Carlos Emmons 6/5 250 8th NFL season Emmons fractured his fibula in December and has been placed on IR. Was having a great year with 84 tackles. Excellent cover linebacker.

Outlook: The timing of his injury may lower his demand in free agency. Could back up Leber while he heals. Once healthy could take over or be the nickel linebacker.

Will-less Wisdom: Predicting the playoffs is always a crap shoot. Here's a shot in the dark: I'll take Rodney Harrison and the Patriots to beat the Titans. The Panthers will shock the Rams (and me). The Colts will outscore the Chiefs (reluctantly). The Eagles will make cheese out of the Packers. As Marty Schottenheimer would say: "Ultimately" that's how I see things unfolding.

Will Mortensen can be reached at will.powered@verizon.net

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