Chargers Draft Blog *Updated Daily*

A daily rumbling of the latest draft news and thoughts regarding the San Diego Chargers. The archive is <b>updated daily</b>.

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

The first time I saw QB Ben Roethlisberger of Miami of Ohio play, my jaw dropped. I had heard about the kid who turned down Michigan and Ohio State to play in the Mid American Conference and pretty much ridiculed him. Before the start of the 2001 season, I was at a poker night a good friend's house in Ohio (he is a HS football coach) and there were about 5 other coaches in the room. When I talked about Roethlisberger, all of them said he was the best QB they had seen coming out of Ohio. It was unanimous. I made a sarcastic remark and all of them told me to wait. I was up in Detroit on business when Ben Roethlisberger was scheduled to make his first start against Michigan as a redshirt freshman, so I bought tickets to the game and invited my buddy. Then I see this huge kid come out in warm-ups zipping the ball over the place. In his first start, he was hammered but he kept getting up and made throws that most QBs could not make. His stat line was pretty good considering his team was completely overmatched. At the end of the game, I turned my buddy and said at least he is not at Ohio State. I have watched Ben play over the past three years and have been encouraged by his development. His physical ability is very good. He's a big kid with a big arm that has displayed very good accuracy in his career. He senses pressure and has the athleticism to move around the pocket. He also has an engaging personality who always seemed to put his teammates first and is said to be a perfectionist. He needs some work and is not as ready to play as Eli Manning or Philip Rivers, but he has a greater upside. Like all QB's, the big question is how he will respond to the pressure of being an NFL QB." - Rob Curtis

Monday, April 12, 2004

"Out of respect to big time Charger fan and Arizona State graduate, Phil Mickelson, who just removed the 800-pound gorilla off his back; I want to look at a fellow ASU alum. S Jason Shivers was probably the best DB in the Pac 10 last year and walks into this draft as one of the best players at a deep position. At 6'0" 200 pounds, Shivers is an athletic, tenacious player who is solid against the run and the pass. He is a very physical tackler who has a knack for the big play. He is a little overaggressive and bites too much on play action, but that's just about his only major flaw. Though he is more productive than Sean Jones, he probably will go behind the Georgia product." - Rob Curtis

Sunday, April 11, 2004

Over the past three years, the Chargers have had a strong tie to the Big 12 with first day picks including Sammy Davis (Texas A&M), Terrence Kiel (Texas A&M), Quentin Jammer (Texas), Toniu Fonoti (Nebraska), and Ben Leber (Kansas State). At this point, I think it is a safe bet that some Big 12 standout will be considered. Since it will not be at the top of round 1, there are possibilities in rounds 2 and 3 starting with Texas DT Marcus Tubbs. Tubbs not only fits our system and fills a void, he is rated as a late 1st-early 2nd round pick by most publications. There are some positives to his game. At 6'4" 321 pounds, Tubbs has the frame, athleticism, and strength to be a dominant two gap player. Despite All Pro tools, Tubbs is overrated. He does not give good effort and his production has been questionable. Tubbs is the definition of a boom/bust type player. Despite his talent, I hope the Chargers do not look at him where he is currently rated. If he falls to the 3rd round, he would be a worthwhile risk." - Rob Curtis

Saturday, April 10, 2004

"Ben Roethlisberger is not the only player from the MAC making news. I have only seen Jason Babin play a couple of times, but he has left a positive impression against the bigger schools. He is the best pass rusher I have seen in that conference since Jason Taylor was causing havoc at Akron. A 6-2, 260 pounder with 4.64 speed and a great motor, he is one of a handful of players in this draft that I know will never be "out hustled". He has a quick first step, good acceleration around the corner, and a burst to the QB. He plays with leverage, uses his hands well, and can change direction. He wants to get to the QB and he works to get to the QB. His technique is rudimentary and I would make him watch film of Leslie O‚Neal, but the natural tools are there. With good coaching, he should be a good pass rusher in this league. I expect him to go higher than some fans expect." - Rob Curtis

Friday, April 9, 2004

"A couple of years ago, Roy Williams and Ed Reed made big first impressions. While Reed isn‚t the most physical player, he makes more big plays than any DB in football. Williams is one of the most physical players in the league, but is not a strong player in coverage. Miami‚s Sean Taylor replaced Ed Reed and the Hurricanes did not miss a beat. In fact, they upgraded. Taylor appears to be a hybrid of Williams and Reed. A big, physical player with good speed; Taylor has tremendous range and even better instincts. He is a complete safety who could be both a 4-3 weak side LB, a SS, or a FS. That type of versatility could do wonders for a Chargers defense that ranked 31st in points allowed, 27th in yards allowed, 27th in interceptions, and 25th in sacks. He may not make the initial impact of a Robert Gallery, but Sean Taylor will be an impact player by the beginning of his 2nd year." - Rob Curtis

Thursday, April 8, 2004

"The Chargers desperately need 3-4 DE's. While most of the focus has been on Miami's Vince Wilfork and Oklahoma's Tommie Harris, neither player warrants a top 5 pick. There are other DE's with potential. In my opinion, Maryland's Randy Starks would have been a top 10 pick if he would have gone back to school. Instead, the productive DT left school early and might be available in the 2nd round. Starks is a great fit for the Chargers defense. He can two gap, but has the athleticism to make plays away from him. He has good quickness off the ball and can shed blockers. He has enough speed to get to the QB though I don't believe he projects as a big sack guy in the NFL. Like Wilfork, he does not always play within the context of the system. In his case, I don't think it is to pad his stats. He believes he can make plays down the line and he over pursues. He also will play higher than you'd like, but his talent is undeniable. He gets into the blocker and is difficult to block. Put him on the right side with Donnie Edwards behind him, I think he could help Edwards immensely. Starks would be a great 2nd round pick for the Chargers." - Rob Curtis

Wednesday, April 7, 2004

"Players are supposed to improve throughout their college career. If that were the case, Nat Dorsey would be right up there with Robert Gallery as the top OT in this class. As a freshman, Dorsey won first team All ACC honors and capped off a brilliant year by dominating Julius Peppers in his bowl game. He has great size at 6'7" 322 pounds with the quickness and athleticism to play LT at a high level. What happened? Dorsey has displayed frustrating inconsistency at the college level and regressed as a player. While Gallery has dedicated himself to become as technically sound as any OT to come out of college in a long time, Dorsey is a lazy player who relies on his tools. Talent wise, Dorsey compares favorably with Cincinnati's Levi Jones when he became the 10th pick out of Arizona State. His upside is immense if a coach can get through to him. He would be a slight reach in round 2 and a calculated risk in round 3." - Rob Curtis

Tuesday, April 6, 2004

"With all due respect to Steve Foley, the Chargers have a gaping hole at the ROLB position. With the move to a 3-4 defense, that is a huge issue since the two OLB are the primary rushers. The good thing is that there appear to be a couple of undersized, ultra athletic DE's who are very good fits. Hawaii's DE/LB Travis LaBoy is one of those players. An athletic LB with a nasty streak, LaBoy is a competitive player with great production. As a pass rusher, he is quick off the snap and often puts the OT at a disadvantage with his first step. He also has good speed and always pursues until the whistle blows. There are a couple of flags. He has never played LB and he has a tendency to think pass rush first. He is also said to have quite the ego and let down his teammates by being ruled academically ineligible for his bowl game. All the flags aside, LaBoy has very good potential to fill one of the Chargers biggest needs." - Rob Curtis

Monday, April 5, 2004

"While most fans focus on Iowa's Robert Gallery, USC All America OT Jacob Rogers represents an interesting possibility in round 2. He is not nearly the athlete that Gallery is, but he is an efficient player who has played at a high level. Rogers is a good technician with a terrific understanding of protection angles. He can position and wall off players and gives good effort against the run. He does not have the strength that you look for in an offensive tackle and could be a better run blocker, but his overall play is very reminiscent of former Michigan standout/Detroit LT Jeff Backus." - Rob Curtis

Sunday, April 4, 2004

"The Chargers recently spent the day at the University of Miami pro day. While most of the interest appeared to be in Sean Taylor, another name is being linked to the Chargers based on need. DT Vince Wilfork has the ability to be a dominant player in the mold of Cortez Kennedy. He has great quickness and power coupled with pretty good instincts. However, there is a catch. Vince Wilfork is the epitome of an undisciplined player. He plays for the big play and his stat line looks good at the end of the day, but the problem is he leaves gaping holes because of his style of play." - Rob Curtis

Saturday, April 3, 2004

"Michael Boulware is too versatile for his own good. In many ways, I think he would be better off if people were rating him at the Safety position. At that position, he has a great size/speed ratio as well as cover skills that are better than Adam Archuleta and Darren Woodson at similar points in their careers. In addition, he would be considered a very good run stuffer. The problem is that Florida State converted him to a weakside LB and he has shown real possibilities at that position. As a LB, he is weak at the point of attack and gets blown off the ball way too much for my taste. He runs around blockers and generally tries to avoid taking on a blocker. Despite my criticism, it is obvious that he improved at the position and his learning curve is still on the way up. He has great mobility and can make plays sideline to sideline. Plus, he can flat out eliminate the TE in coverage from the weakside LB position. He is a better version of Tommy Polley and could be viewed as a poor man's Donnie Edwards. He does not fit the Chargers system at all and would be a poor pick if we are going to put him at LB, but the guy is an intriguing athlete. If he would have stayed at Safety, I think we'd be talking about him as the 2nd best Safety in the draft. Now, he is in the first tier of a mediocre LB class." - Rob Curtis

Friday, April 2, 2004

"In my opinion, the most underrated LB in the draft is Daryl Smith out of Georgia Tech. There are players who simply know how to play the game. You watch them and realize that they do the work in the film room and put a lot of effort into their preparation. It manifests itself in the form of big plays and a high level of consistency. While the LB's from Miami and Florida State receive a lot of publicity, Smith is the best LB in this draft (though Jonathan Vilma will give him a run for his money). He is a little undersized at 6-2, 234 pounds, but the guy is a good interior run defender with the mobility to play sideline to sideline and is solid in coverage. Daryl Smith is a throwback and a guy who I would welcome on my team." - Rob Curtis

Thursday, April 1, 2004

"When watching the Senior Bowl this year, you got the feeling that Marty Schottenheimer and his staff gravitated to two players. One was Philip Rivers. The other was Florida State DT Darnell Dockett. The shift to the 3-4 has many people speculating that Dockett may be a target if he is available in the 2nd round. He has rare quickness off the snap and gets to the ball. He uses his hands well and when he is motivated, he can disrupt a game like very few DL in this draft. With good instincts, he is better against the run than some will lead you to believe. His biggest flaw is a perceived lack of maturity (he can be a hothead on the field) and a questionable motor. It is kind of hard to get a gauge on him. There are times where his effort is extremely evident, but there are other times where it looks like he is indifferent. If he dedicates himself and gives the effort that he shows flashes of, I think he can become a pro bowl caliber player." - Rob Curtis

Wednesday, March 31, 2004

"There are some juniors who make you scratch your head when they make the decision to leave school early. The player who made me scratch my head the most is Clemson WR Derrick Hamilton. In my opinion, Hamilton could have been a high first round pick if he would have come back to school. Now, he is stuck in the best WR draft in ages and is stuck in that third tier of WR's. Hamilton has a lot of positives. He's a notch under 6'5" and runs a sub 4.5 forty. He uses his size well and can adjust to the ball. Throughout his career, he has simply made plays and I expect him to develop into a good WR. He simply made the wrong decision." - Rob Curtis

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

"Two years ago, Bernard Berrian looked like a first round pick. He was an explosive WR coming off a great year for Fresno State where he was David Carr's primary target. A ligament tear in his right knee derailed his season. He came back and had a good year, but he now finds himself as an older WR stuck in one of the best WR drafts ever. Berrian projects as an early 3rd round WR who could drop because of his knee. If he drops to the third round, he is in a group of receivers that have tremendous bargain potential for the Chargers at that point. He could be bigger (shade over 6-0, about 180 pounds) and stronger, but there are very few WR's who have his explosiveness and big play ability. He has terrific speed and knows how to set up WR's with a great burst to the ball. He needs work with his route running, but there isn't a better WR after the catch in this draft with maybe the exception of LSU's Devery Henderson." - Rob Curtis

Monday, March 29, 2004

Some players walk into college so raw, they need a good coaching staff in place that will push, prod, and develop. Tommy Kelly was one such player. Unfortunately, he chose to play under Jackie Sherrill at Mississippi State. While Sherrill has a wonderful track record of success, his program the past 4 years ago was one where the inmates ran the asylum. An athletic DE with good size, Kelly is versatile enough to play in a 3-4 or a 4-3. At a shade under 6'6" 300 pounds, he generally overwhelms an OT at the point of attack. Combined with very good pursuit skills, he has shown flashes of greatness throughout his college career. However, Kelly is the epitome of an underachiever. His technique is rudimentary and he doesn't play with leverage. To be very blunt, he has not improved at all in his four years. If Tommy Kelly went to a more structured environment like Iowa, we might be talking about a player who had the ability to be a top 15 pick. He didn't. Now, you have a player with first round tools with first round flashes and 6th round productivity." - Rob Curtis

Sunday, March 28, 2004

"The primary focus on the offensive line has rightfully been on the OT position, but this team needs OG help as well. Thankfully, there appear to be several middle round finds at the OG position. While Miami's Vernon Carey is getting all the publicity along with Alabama's Justin Smiley, NC State's Sean Locklear (who is very underrated), and Boston College's Chris Snee, there are two names I'd like you to keep in mind during Day 2. North Carolina's Jeb Terry is built like a tackle at 6'5" 311 pounds and has the very good athleticism to go with his size. He is still raw, but he has a ton of potential to be a complete OG in this league and in many ways looks like a better player than Carey. Alan Reuber out of Texas A&M is an intriguing prospect as well. While most publications list him as an OG, I think they are prematurely moving a technically sound OT with a good understanding of angles and solid lateral mobility inside. He will never be a stud LT, but he is a player that has some possibilities at the position and that is rare in this draft." - Rob Curtis

Saturday, March 27, 2004

"With the Chargers in desperate need of an OT, one name that often comes up is Max Starks out of Florida. The late Joel Buchbaum used to use the term "looks like Tarzan, plays like Jane." That description describes Max Starks to a tee. At 6-7, 350 pounds, Starks has great size, very good strength, and nice athleticism. He is the physical ideal at the OT position and often wins battles because of those tools. Despite all the talent in the world, Max Starks rarely dominates his opponent. He is only an average run defender who could be much better with added intensity. He is a lazy pass protector who comes out of his stance high, lunges at the defender, and does not use angles well. It is unfortunate; because he can be effective in pass protection when he uses his long arms and athleticism to ride the ends wide. In the end, the Chargers may be a good place for him. Hudson Houck has proven that he can get a lot out of players with talent. If someone can light a fire under Starks, they will have the 2nd best OT from this draft. If not, he will continue to disappoint." - Rob Curtis

Friday, March 26, 2004

"Every year, players get discounted for one reason or another. They go to the combine and scouts find things not to like. In some cases, it is warranted. In others, it is not. I remember watching Texas Tech's Zach Thomas (Dolphins) and Texas A&M's Dat Nguyen (Cowboys) and wondering why scouts would disregard superior instincts and great productivity, because they were a couple inches shorter than optimal. It wasn't like they were lacking other physical skills. Iowa's Bob Sanders is a very productive and physical S with great instincts, good cover skills, and an incredible makeup. He also tests through the roof with sub 4.4 speed and leaping ability that most CB's would like to have. Why isn't he listed as a first rounder? He is a notch under 5'9". Scouts say he is going to have trouble with TE's, but his cover skills are considerably better than 90% of the S's in the NFL right now. Scouts say he might get engulfed in the running game, but there isn't a tougher, more physical S in the league right now. The guy can flat out play and if you eliminated the height consideration, his tools and productivity would put him in the top 12 of this draft. Some team is going to get a major bargain." - Rob Curtis

Thursday, March 25, 2004

Texas just had their pro day and Roy Williams had an unbelievable workout registering a sub 4.4 time, a 39.5 inch vertical leap, an 11 foot broad jump, and 17 reps at 225. For those who have watched the mercurial WR play for Texas, this should not come as a surprise. Last year, he created a lot of positive press by giving up millions of dollars to return for his senior year and he seems like a real good kid. There are a lot of reasons to like Roy Williams. The problem is that despite all the wonderful skills and his personable nature, Roy Williams has been an inconsistent performer. He has had some wonderful games, but too many games where he has been nonexistent. Players with Roy Williams skill set should produce at a higher level Roy Williams will be a top 10 pick because of his athleticism, but there are at least 5 WR's in this draft who have displayed good tools and have been a lot more productive." - Rob Curtis

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

"From the moment Philip Rivers stepped onto the North Carolina State campus, he has been one of the most prolific QB's in college football. He lit up the ACC displaying great poise and an uncanny ability to make the right decision on the football field. In an age where you worry about the ego of the coddled athlete, Philip Rivers comes across as a great guy and one of his biggest strengths appears to be his relationship with his teammates. Despite all his accolades, I think Philip Rivers is the beneficiary of the "overcorrection" factor. Every year, some great college player is so underrated by scouts for so long that he becomes overrated. Philip Rivers appears to be that player this year. While he has a lot of positives, his release and his arm strength make him a bigger question mark than the top 2 QB's in this draft. Will superior intellect make up for lack of "tools"? We've seen Tom Brady and Chad Pennington emerge despite less than optimal tools, but we've also seen Drew Brees and Cade McNown go from gutty achievers in college to mediocre NFL QB's. Where is that line that separates the great from the mediocre? It is fuzzy and it is why I would be disappointed if Philip Rivers is the primary return that the Chargers get for the first pick in the draft. He will be an good pick for a team outside of the top 10 and would represent outstanding value after pick 20, but the Chargers have the number 1 pick overall. If they trade down, get Robert Gallery and package their second round pick with the compensation to move down to secure Philip Rivers, I will be ecstatic." - Rob Curtis

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

"At 6'4" 213 pounds, Ohio State WR Michael Jenkins has been one of the more unheralded WR's in the country. He has good speed, solid hands, great leaping ability, and an uncanny ability to adjust to the ball grabbing it at it's highest point (he was the WR that caught the 4th down TD that saved OSU's national championship run against Purdue). He also appears to get in and out of his cuts without losing much speed. Jenkins could be a more physical blocker and he hasn't gone over the middle that much in college, but he opened a lot of eyes at the Senior Bowl. In most years, Jenkins would be a first round pick. In this draft, he is not even the best sleeper WR from an OSU with Oklahoma State's RaShaun Woods out there. That said, he would make an outstanding 2nd round choice with an upside similar to Amani Toomer." - Ron Curtis

Monday, March 22, 2004

"QBs in general are harder to judge, because there is a huge learning curve and even great college QB's seem to struggle initially. While skeptical fans pine for safe picks like Robert Gallery or Larry Fitzgerald, it appears QB is a serious consideration. With that in mind, I have to say that I find Eli Manning a difficult QB to judge. He isn't as physically gifted as Ben Roethlisberger, but his physical skills are solid across the board. In many ways, Eli appears to have a lot of similar positives as his brother with regards to mechanics, instincts, intelligence, and intangibles. The guy has been around NFL coaching for years and is probably more ready to play at the next level than any other QB in the draft, but the questions still exist. Eli is more of a riverboat gambler than his brother. Eli isn't as prepared as his brother. In some ways, I think he is held to a higher standard because of his brother. Eli gets very good marks for his preparation and game management. In the end, it is difficult to identify if he has the intangibles that separate Peyton from the rest of the league. However, Eli has strong intangibles on his own merits He doesn't have Roethlisberger's upside, but he is the much safer pick and should be a very good QB for year's to come. Whether he is the best player in the draft is debatable." - Rob Curtis

Sunday, March 21, 2004

"So who will be our kicker next year? If Iowa's Nate Kaeding is available in round 4, I expect him to be a San Diego Charger. There are a few kickers that you know are going to be very great kickers and Kaeding is one of them. He's accurate with good leg strength. If it isn't Kaeding, there aren't many other kickers in the draft that are worth much. You can choose the ultra accurate kickers with limited leg strength. Oregon State's Kirk Yliniemi and TCU's Nick Browne fit that mold. Or you can look at inconsistent kickers with very good legs like Louisiana Tech's Josh Scobee and Mississippi State's Brent Smith." - Rob Curtis

Saturday, March 20, 2004

"Eli Manning is not the only son of a former star that could help the Chargers next year. With Leon Johnson, Doug Chapman, and Jesse Chatman backing up LaDanian Tomlinson, it is pretty obvious that the Chargers could use an upgrade at the RB position. West Virginia's Quincy Wilson (son of former Bear Otis Wilson) is one of the more underrated players in this draft. He is a tough, instinctive runner with great vision and good balance. He is always going forward and breaks a ton of tackles. Miami's Jarrett Payton (son of Walter Payton) has always been an after thought in college. Despite this, he still looks like a pro back. He is a tough runner who can catch the ball." - Rob Curtis

Friday, March 19, 2004

"Based on the current state of the roster, some late round picks are going to need to make an impact especially on the defensive side of the ball. The three guys who I don't think get the publicity they deserve are Wisconsin LB Alex Lewis, Auburn LB Reggie Torbor, and Oregon NT Junior Siavii. Lewis is a notch under 6'0", but he is a talented pass rusher who plays with strength, power, speed, and toughness. People look at his size and discount him. That would be a mistake Torbor is relentless pass rusher with a good burst off the ball and a closing burst to the QB. He is a tweener who needs to become more disciplined against the run. Anyone who watched the Sun Bowl knows that Junior Siavii can play. He has some growing up to do, but his combination of size, strength, and athleticism is very impressive for a guy listed as a 2nd day pick." - Rob Curtis

Thursday, March 18, 2004

"With the move to a 3-4 defense, the Chargers need to get good production out of the weakside OLB. Currently manned by Steve Foley, I expect the Chargers to look for an upgrade in the draft. One player we may look at later in the draft is Shaun Phillips, the All American DE from Purdue. Phillips was a one man wrecking crew with 14.5 sacks and 23 tackles for loss displaying a very good burst to the QB and a relentless nature. While he isn't the prototypical DE because of his size (6'3" 254 pounds) and he doesn't have the speed to be a 4-3 OLB, he is a very good fit for the 3-4." - Rob Curtis

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

"What does RaShaun Woods have to do to get respect? The All American WR from Oklahoma State has great hands and a phenomenal sense of timing. An aggressive, physical WR who runs great routes and understands coverages, Woods has been a dominant force throughout his career. He isn't a speedster, but he makes big plays and more importantly knows how to set up a CB in either man or zone coverage. I keep on hearing how the "experts" knock his speed, but he has made some very good NFL CB's leave with their tail between their legs. While Roy Williams gets all the press, the best WR and WR prospect in the Big 12 resides in Stillwater." - Rob Curtis

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

"After Drew Brees's performance last year, most people are focusing on Eli Manning and Ben Roethlisberger. While Brees has been mediocre at best, I have two names that determine my focus for the draft: Courtney Van Buren and Leander Jordan. The concept of going into this season with both of them as the starting OT's would be a bad idea. It does not hurt that the best player and safest pick in the draft is an OT. A well coached player with high character, ideal physical skills, and a makeup that this team should covet; he is the one player that I would select over anybody else. He might not be the "popular choice", but Robert Gallery is the right choice for the San Diego Chargers." - Rob Curtis

Monday, March 15, 2004

"Now that David Boston is on his way out of San Diego and there are no FA's of note at the WR position, what do you think the Chargers will do? There are some rumors out there that the Chargers covet Larry Fitzgerald, but I am willing to bet that their 2nd round pick will take advantage of the draft's depth. Now, the question is what do we do with the first pick? Robert Gallery or one of the QB's?" - Rob Curtis

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