A Surprise Pick?

Could the San Diego Chargers throw everyone for a loop when they choose first (for now) in the 2004 NFL Draft? Interesting development over the last week have left some people wondering just what the Bolts will do at the top of the first round.

WR Larry Fitzgerald was in town -- and made it clear he would like to stay.

That might not happen, especially if the Chargers stay put with their No. 1 pick. While Fitzgerald is a heck of a talent, some think snagging him first overall would be a mistake.

But Fitzgerald, the ex-Pittsburgh star, was effusive in his praise for the Chargers, and the opportunity to play for receivers coach James Lofton.

"I was a big Buffalo Bills fan when he was playing there," Fitzgerald said.

And the Chargers could end up with the potential impact receiver if they scoot down a spot or two. The team certainly has a need at that position, after dumping David Boston. The receiving corps he left behind isn't much -- Reche Caldwell (a second-round bust) and the undersized and injury-prone tandem of Tim Dwight and Eric Parker. The only player with promise is Kevin Dyson, but even he is coming off an injury plagued season in '03.

The Chargers would like to have something to balance running back LaDainian Tomlinson. That was the plan when they signed Boston last offseason. But his attitude wasn't worth his production, so he moved on.

Now, what will be the Chargers' move? Do they stay put at No. 1 and possibly get Mississippi quarterback Eli Manning? Or go for more picks by trading down?

Tough to say. But what isn't a mystery is teams will start calling about that top pick. The Giants have already checked in, and Chargers general manager A.J. Smith will continue to take calls as draft day draws near.


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