Schottenheimer Not Vacationing

San Diego Chargers Head Coach Marty Schottenheimer was in Miami on Saturday. This wasn't a vacation trip. It was all about work. Schottenheimer was on hand to witness the Miami Hurricanes Pro Day and he took in the festivities with many other Head Coaches from the NFL. His goal was to search out talent in preparation for the 2004 NFL Draft.

The Chargers brass did not take the time to interview many of the Miami players at the combines, as they knew Schottenheimer would attend Saturday's workout. With only 60 interviews to spare, there were other pressing matters to attend to.

Tops on Marty Schottenheimer's scouting list was safety Sean Taylor. Unfortunately, he was not able to see the star in all his glory. A hamstring injury limited Taylor's effectiveness and cut down on his speed during the workout.

"I am not at 100% right now," Taylor told our reporter in Miami. "I hurt my hamstring about two weeks ago. It doesn't matter to me where I go as long as I am on one of 32 teams. I am excited and anxious to show what I can do, but I can only do whatever my leg allows me to do right now. It is unfortunate that I can't do all that I am capable of."

The Bolts are seeking a potential trade down from the top overall pick and are turning over every stone. Taylor is a highly coveted stone. If there ever was a sure fired pick on defense, Taylor is that man.

Scouts and personnel people alike call Taylor a Pro Bowler in the making, but the Chargers spent their first three picks on the secondary a year ago, making one wonder if they will venture down that road again.

"Taylor disappointed," one league source in attendance told us.

Schottenheimer also spent time looking at Jonathan Vilma, a linebacker thought to be a mid first round pick. Strong words tell us the Chargers will employ a 3-4, and the Bolts will need another linebacker. Vilma interviewed with ten teams in Indy and the Chargers were not among them.

DJ Williams also garners interest for the same reasons. Both are solid linebackers and will be welcome by any team.

There will, however, be competition in the middle of the first for them:

The Jets Herman Edwards cited both Vilma and Williams as targets this week. "There are good ones coming out, two of them from Miami. In our league, when you look at it, linebackers who are athletic guys are at a premium. They're almost like corners anymore because they are in space all the time.''

Also on the agenda was a second look at Vernon Carey. Carey lined up at left tackle on Saturday.

One scout told us it was a sign that NFL teams are confident in his ability to play right tackle at the next level and team's wanted to see if there was a possibility of him playing left tackle at the next level. Carey has also played guard in college.

That versatility intrigues the Chargers staff. While the Bolts are known for liking bigger linemen, Carey has dropped 17 pounds from his playing weight and wants to drop roughly five to ten more.

"Vernon, along with Kellen, were the most impressive guys out there today," one agent said.

Carey may have vaulted himself well into the first round with a solid showing and bumping himself out of contention for a team like the Chargers who were hoping to take a hard look at him in the top of the second round.

New England has setup a meeting with him later this month as Damien Woody will be allowed to test free agency. Ironically, the agent for Woody, Ben Dogra, is also the agent for Carey.

Whether the Chargers found what they were looking for in Miami remains to be seen. With six potential first rounders slated to go in the draft, Schottenheimer had to be prepared should the Chargers trade down from the top pick or trade up into the first round with their second round pick.

Either way it was a wise choice to show up and check out the merchandise.

As one agent said, "Schottenheimer was looking at everybody and did not show much favoritism."


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