Senior Bowl: From the Couch

Finally, a Marty Schottenheimer coached football team played at a level that San Diego Charger fans can be proud of. The South squad dominated the game, thanks mainly to Philip Rivers' precision passing, and Cam Cameron's aggressive play calling...<br><br> Several players on the South's Senior Bowl roster might want to take the Charger coaching staff out for a couple cold ones. These players will see a rise in their draft stock:

Philip Rivers went 12-19, 213 yards and 2 TD's. An awesome performance from the player with the most to gain or lose in this game. Accurate, quick release, improvising, and poised are descriptions of the quarterback from North Carolina St. Perhaps just as impressive as his numbers are these: 0 INT's and 0 batted down passes. The games overall MVP all but locked up a first round grade.

Devery Henderson caught 5 passes for 120 yards with a couple big plays. Henderson has elite speed and quickness but is a tad raw. He may have upped his stock to the 2nd round. He looked like the most explosive receiver on the field.

Greg Jones made the most of his 5 opportunities, he rushed for 44 yards and 2 TD's. Jones is the specimen of the draft. A 250 pound running back with good feet and great power. Jones will flat out truck defenders in his way.

Ernest Wilford had a great week and capped if off with a good game, catching 7 passes for 73 yards and a touchdown. Henderson and Wilford combined to be a potent 1-2 punch for the South. Henderson was the big play explosion; Wilford was the big possession type with the ability to turn a 1 yard pass into a 12 yard gain. Wilford has Deceptive explosiveness.

Mewelde Moore slipped under the radar with a quiet 9 carries for 40 yards. The running back from Tulane showed good vision and all-around skills to up his stock. Might fit nicely as a change up to Ladanian Tomlinson. The only problem is the Chargers having so many needs that picking a running back may not be in the plans.

Cam Cameron used the same plays that he uses on Sunday's and they really afforded these players chances to make plays. Greg Jones did damage from the fullback position, on the fake reverse-hand off to Lorenzo Neal up the gut play. Ernest Wilford played David Boston with quick passes that allowed him to use his run after the catch ability. Tight End Ben Watson also benefited from the Charger offensive system. He caught a couple 5-7 yard quick-outs, usually for first downs on 3rd and short. Running Back Shaud Williams played Tomlinson in the passing game. In shotgun formations he caught 2 passes in the mid-deep zone picking up chunks of yards.

The offensive line did a fine job for the South. Pass protection was solid overall while the run blocking was not as consistent. There were a couple of big holes and the line did allow Greg Jones to get a full head of steam so he could punish would be defenders. Jeb Terry played well at both guard spots. Max Starks is the type of lineman that makes Hudson Houck smile from ear to ear. The 6-7 350 pound behemoth manned the left-tackle position and more than held his own. Many feel he is better suited for right tackle, but the Chargers may have a hard time passing on him in the 3rd round regardless of what side he plays.

On defense, two players will have the Charger war room buzzing during the 2nd round. Defensive tackles Darnell Dockett and Chad Lavalais provided constant pressure up the middle. Dockett really helped himself during Senior Bowl week; it's safe to say he has surpassed Lavalais on draft boards. If he is on the board when the Chargers pick in the second round, it's hard to justify passing on such a disruptive defensive tackle. Lavalais would be a nice fall back option. He is active and has a knack for getting pressure and making plays behind the line of scrimmage. The knock is that he may have trouble fighting the blocks of the NFL's stronger interior players.

The most impressive linebacker on the South squad is a surprise. It was Alabama's Derrick Pope making the plays out there. Pope is 6-0 230, and doesn't project as a high pick; he would be a solid late-round pick that would excel on special teams and provide depth to the linebacking core. Dontarrious Thomas and Rod Davis are middle linebackers that play well but don't stand out as elite players.

Honorable mentions

QB- JP Losman didn't hurt himself but also didn't distinguish himself as a 1st round pick. He has 1st round talent but looks like he will need more time to develop. Definitely worth consideration in the 2nd round; if the Chargers don't take Manning or Roethlisberger.

DB- This is not an area that the Chargers should target but here are some good ones: CB/PR Kiewan Ratliff, CB Bruce Thornton and S Madieu Williams.

OL- Stephen Peterman, Jake Grove, Alan Reuber.

DL- Tommy Kelly (as DE), Dave Ball, Bobby McCray.

Will-full wisdom:Rivers performance gives the Chargers a new trade down option. It's hard to imagine Rivers slipping past the top 18 picks. Perhaps the Chargers trade down, land a quarterback in the 1st (Rivers) while picking up draft picks in this deep draft. Seeing Rivers perform that well in the Chargers system has me craving for more.

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

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