Chargers already sending out Draft feelers

While the San Diego Chargers were will still in the midst of their season, they were sending scouts across the globe to scout for NFL talent in anticipation of the draft in April.

The Chargers have two first round picks and rely on the input of scouts to make their decisions easier come draft day. A.J. Smith has the final say, but the scouts push him in the direction warranted by their endless hours of research.

The Chargers were one of many teams to send scouts to the Peach Bowl which featured two powerhouses, Miami and Florida. There are a number of players worthy of consideration with either team.

Since 1983, a combined 68 players from Florida and Miami have been selected in the first round of the NFL Draft.

They also sent a scout out to the Division-II All-Star game last week. Most eyes were on 6-foot-1 wide receiver Maurice Washington who ranked 17th in the country with an average of 98.3 receiving yards per game. For the year, he had 53 receptions and 12 touchdowns. He was limited to two catches, however, in the game.

The Shrine Game occurred on Saturday and scouts representing San Diego were again in attendance.

Word is that Logan Mankins a 6-foot-4, 320-pound, offensive tackle also has drawn interest from the Chargers. They were reportedly at the MPC Computers Bowl to check him out in late December.

Mankins is considered an excellent pass protector and has the attitude and aggressiveness the Bolts covet. Even at his size, Mankins has the ability to pull outside, a definite weakness of the current team.

"I am impressed," former Chargers' coach and coach of the West team, Mike Riley said. "His toughness – I would have liked him on our team."

Mankins played left tackle last season for Fresno State. His status among scouts is rising and he has a chance to raise his stock further as the offseason moves on.

Another playing drawing interest is Jordan Beck, a linebacker out of Cal-Poly. At 6-2, 230-pounds, Beck has been clocked in the 4.50 range in the 40-yard dash, a stat this has scouts excited.

Beck was awarded the Buchanan Award, given to the nation's top defensive player in Division I-AA. Beck was also named to the Walter Camp and The Sports Network All-America teams, and selected an Associated Press second-team All- American.

Beck had 135 tackles this season with 18.5 of those for a loss. He also had 5.5 sacks, six forced fumbles and four interceptions, including two returned for touchdowns.

He holds Cal Poly records for tackles in a game (23 vs. Montana in 2003), season (135 in 2004) and career (449), and helped Cal-Poly win the inaugural Great West Conference championship.

Beck is seen as an underrated prospect at the present time but he is garnering interest from a number of teams and many scouts lined up to talk to him this past week.

The Chargers coaching staff will begin making their way to more of the post-season events – as soon as their contracts are worked out. With ammo collected from their scouts, their plan for the draft will become clearer.

Lightning Quicks:

Hearing Hudson Houck may be looking to move on, as reported by The Union Tribune, is disheartening. It could be a poker ploy by one of the top offensive line coaches in the NFL as some of the top coaches make over $1 million.

If he were to leave, there is few of his caliber available. One is Bill Muir, another excellent line coach who has been with Tampa for three years, but he will reportedly rejoin Bill Parcells in Dallas. Russ Grim will be looking for bigger and better things and will likely stay with Pittsburgh if the move is only a lateral one.

Which brings it back to Houck – the Chargers need to sign their brightest coach to a deal worthy of the work he does.

Denis Savage can be reached at denis@sandiegosports.net


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