Chargers' Draft Scenarios- Part I

While the Super Bowl and Pro Bowl are of little significance to the 4-12 San Diego Chargers, Free Agency and the Draft has the organization and its fans eager for solutions. San Diego is on the clock, let the speculation begin. The following is the first of SD Bolt Report's "Chargers' Draft Scenarios"- an in depth mock draft series- Chargers' style...

Before we get to the draft, a couple of notes...

FREE AGENCY

The Chargers recent approach to Free Agency has been to throw fat contracts at high profile players. Marcellus Wiley and David Boston have been recent targets acquired in this fashion. The results have been mixed; which may cause the Chargers to change their tune. The Patriots success of signing lower profile guys to cap friendlier contracts may play a factor in this as well. Players such as Todd Wade (RT), Mike Goff (RG), Greg Randall (RT), Nate Webster (MLB), Dhani Jones (OLB), Clark Haggans (OLB), Cornelius Griffin (DT), Robaire Smith (DT), Adalius Thomas (DE/ 3-4 LB), James Hall (DE), and Kevin Faulk (RB) are all in their 20's and would command less money than a Warren Sapp, Al Wilson, or Jevon Kearse type of player.

LEFT TACKLE

The left tackle position is an obvious concern for the Chargers. Walter Jones, Orlando Pace, and Chad Clifton are scheduled to be available, but it is unlikely their respective teams will allow that to happen. That would leave John Tait, the RIGHT tackle of the Kansas City Chiefs, as Free Agency's prized LEFT tackle. While Tait is an excellent player, his monopoly status would require the Chargers to revert to their old ways of over paying for free agents. Throwing a ton of money at one player this offseason will limit solutions to other problems. The Chargers may very well have to sign the always expensive 1st pick in the draft; not to mention LaDainian Tomlinson's contract extension should be priority #1. Another factor is that Tait hasn't played the left side in a couple of seasons; his reviews in pass-pro at left tackle are not as rosy as many think. Why do you think they went after Roaf?

SO NOW WHAT?

Not landing a left tackle via free agency is not the end of the world for the Chargers; there are other possibilities. Unfortunately, Robert Gallery is the best one, and while it's not out of the question for a team to take an offensive lineman #1 overall in this draft; it is doubtful. Especially with Eli Manning and Larry Fitzgerald on the board. So trade down you say. I say with whom? The Raiders and Cardinals aren't budging from their spots (unless to trade down), and the Giants (#4) are also hot for Gallery. Not looking good for the take Gallery fan club.

That leaves the last resort (you may want to cover your eyes). Dami...Damio...Damion McIn....Damion McIntosh. There I said it. That's right; D-Mac could resign with the Chargers, to battle the guy from the mock draft below, for the starting LT position. While he struggles in pass-pro, there is no doubt he is effective at springing holes for Tomlinson. Since D-Mac is so inconsistent, and has a knack for missing a couple of games every season, this plan does not work without Vaughn Parker back in the fold. After restructuring his deal, Parker would be the security blanket at LT or RT.

And finally...

THE DRAFT (projections based on 4-3 defensive scheme)

Phillip Rivers performance in the Senior Bowl coupled with the return to football for Drew Henson, has seemingly killed many trade down options. Teams hot for QB‚s can simply stay put and land a Rivers, Lossman, or pursue Henson. In this scenario the Chargers are stuck at #1 and select...

ROUND 1 Eli Manning (6'5 220) The QB from Ole Miss battles Brees for the starters spot. May the best QB win. Many people underestimate what a good QB could do for LaDainian Tomlinson, and the entire offense. Best-case scenario: Brees opens season as starter, while Eli eases into the NFL.

ROUND 2 Jacob Rogers (6'6 310) The LT from USC provides Eli with a future blind-side protector. Rogers is a technician who knows how to play the game. He might not be the prototype; but neither is Matt Light.

ROUND 3 Daryl Smith (6'2 235) The MLB from Georgia Tech has AJ Smith doing handstands if still on the board in round 3. Smith is a 4- year starter who is slightly undersized but has good speed and plays like a big dude.

ROUND 4 Igor Olshansky (6'5 315) The junior DT from Oregon is raw but he's a bad ass who's still learning the game. Big, strong and active. Every football team should have an "Igor" on it. Probably won't slip this far, but that's why we call these things "mocks".

ROUND 5a Josh Buhl (6'0 210) The undersized LB from Kansas St will slip because of his size. You'd never guess he's that small; he plays like a maniac. Buhl could back up Donnie Edwards at LB, or be groomed as an "in the box" strong safety, while terrorizing other special teams units.

ROUND 5b Stacy Andrews (6'6 330) The OT prospect from Ole Miss is Hudson Houck's next project. A raw player (only one year of high school ball), Andrews has a ton of talent for Houck to develop. Gives Eli a familiar face. Coincidentally, we will be talking to Stacey (and his brother Shawn) in the near future.

ROUND 6 Monreko Crittenden (6'5 330) OG from Auburn is the type of player Houck loves. Massive pile moving run-blocker. On the downside, he's a guy who must control his weight or he won't be in the NFL. Worth the risk.

ROUND 7 Omar Nazel (6-5 250) DE from USC slips because of lack of bulk. Nazel would get a shot as a pass rush specialist.

Part II coming soon!

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

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