If I were a carpenter...

The San Diego Chargers have three glaring needs going into the draft: a dominant pass-rusher, a playmaking lead receiver, and a youthful talent to groom for their overachieving offensive line. The Chargers, though, only have two picks in the first round, and their second-round pick is likely too low to net an impact player, especially in a weak draft class such as this one. If they hope to cross each of these areas of need off of their off-season to do list, then they will need to get creative.

Just how creative they get will depend on how the draft board falls early on April 23rd. The team will likely use both of its first-round picks on the player of greatest value left on their board who fills any of the aforementioned areas of need.

At number 12, the Chargers will likely be choosing between DE Marcus Spears, WR Troy Williamson and OT Alex Barron, with Shawne Merriman off the board. Spears has the size the play in the 3-4, and would immediately become the Chargers best pass-rushing lineman, so he should get the nod here.

At number 28, the Chargers will probably be choosing between OT Khalif Barnes and quarterback-turned-receiver Matt   Jones. Seeing as Roman Oben is on the wrong side of 30, and Hudson Houck is no longer around to work his magic, Barnes makes the most sense at this juncture, if he is available.

Under this scenario, that would be two needs down and one to go. So, here is what the Chargers should do about it. AJ Smith should call Marvin Lewis of the Bengals and trade him a sixth-round draft pick for WR Peter Warrick. Although Warrick is not a dominant lead receiver, he brings everything to the table that the Chargers are hungry for.

Warrick still has elite speed and would instantly become the team's top deep threat. He has excellent hands, runs precise routes, and has proven himself in this league, something that cannot be said of any receiver drafted that day. Also, he can be had cheap, as the Bengals are contemplating his release anyway due to salary cap considerations. As an added bonus, the sixth-round pick that it would likely take to acquire his services is probably the pick the Chargers would spend on the kick returner for whom they have so openly pined anyway – and Warrick is an accomplished returner.

Warrick is in the last year of his contract and his base salary is still high, so a new deal would have to be worked out. Luckily, because of the Chargers enviable cap situation this could wait until after the draft. If the team offers him a three-year deal at about $3.5 million a year, he would likely jump at the security of such a contract.

Just look how well everything works out in this scenario. Marcus Spears would start alongside Jamal Williams and Igor Olshansky on what would be a dominant line, and would provide the pass rush that has been sorely lacking. Khalif Barnes could push Shane Olivea for time at right tackle, while providing the eventual replacement for the aging Oben on the left side. Warrick, meanwhile, would start opposite Keenan McCardell, giving the Chargers two proven pass catchers to play in front of ever-developing youngsters Eric Parker and Reche Caldwell. All needs are met by this plan of action, and it would reaffirm the Chargers status as the team to beat in the AFC West.

Michael Lombardo can be reached at Lombardo@sandiegosports.net

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