If I were a carpenter...

The Chargers are going to have some very tough choices to make this weekend. If my early projections hold true, they will have several players available, all of whom play positions of need and have very similar grades, at both of their selections. The decisions they make at these junctures will no doubt define their draft.

Before we get to the Chargers decision with the 12th pick, let's look at who I see being selected prior to that spot.

1. San Francisco- Alex Smith, QB, Utah
2. Miami- Ronnie Brown, RB, Auburn
3. Cleveland- Braylon Edwards, WR, Michigan
4. Chicago- Carnell Williams, RB, Auburn
5. Tampa Bay- Aaron Rodgers, QB, California
6. Tennessee- Antrel Rolle, CB, Miami
7. Minnesota- Mike Williams, WR, USC
8. Arizona- Cedric Benson, RB, Texas
9. Washington- Adam Jones, CB, West Virginia
10. Detroit- Alex Barron, OT, Florida State
11. Dallas- Shawne Merriman, OLB, Maryland

This would leave the Chargers choosing between the following players: WR Troy Williamson, LB Derrick Johnson, DE Marcus Spears and OLB DeMarcus Ware.

Williamson is a burner with deep speed, but this pick would make more sense if it were the strong-armed Phillip Rivers at quarterback. Spears has the ideal size to play end in the 3-4, but is inconsistent in rushing the passer. Ware has the ability to dominate, but dominating at Troy State is not exactly a guarantee of NFL success.

The pick here will be Derrick Johnson. With Donnie Edwards and Randall Godfrey both 32 years old and Godfrey considering retirement after the season, this is the kind of pick that looks smarter and smarter as time goes by. Some say Johnson isn't physical enough and that he runs around blocks, but the same was said about Edwards when he came out of UCLA. Johnson has the versatility to dabble at all four positions during his rookie season, as well as contributing on special teams, as he prepares to take over for Godfrey in 2006. Then again, he may take Godfrey's starting spot before the year even begins.

In order to look at the Chargers next dilemma, we must look at who I see being picked up through number 27, so here we go.

13. Houston- DeMarcus Ware, OLB, Troy State
14. Carolina- Jammal Brown, OT, Oklahoma
15. Kansas City- Carlos Rogers, CB, Auburn
16. New Orleans- Thomas Davis, SS, Georgia
17. Cincinnati- Travis Johnson, DT, Florida State
18. Minnesota- David Pollack, DE, Georgia
19. Saint Louis- Khalif Barnes, OT, Washington
20. Dallas- Troy Williamson, WR, South Carolina
21. Jacksonville- Marcus Spears, DE, LSU
22. Baltimore- Mark Clayton, WR, Oklahoma
23. Seattle- Erasmus James, DE, Wisconsin
24. Green Bay- Channing Crowder, ILB, Florida
25. Washington- Jason Campbell, QB, Auburn
26. New York Jets- Heath Miller, TE, Virginia
27. Atlanta- Shaun Cody, DT, USC

The Chargers will again have some options with this pick. They will likely be choosing between the following players: S Brodney Pool, WR Roddy White, OLB Dan Cody, DE Matt Roth and WR/TE Matt   Jones.

Pool is a good value pick here, but the Chargers are young enough in the secondary and want to give Bhawoh Jue a chance to be this season's Steve Foley. White has intrigued the Bolts and would be a nice addition to the receiving corps but the team still has faith in the guys they have. Roth is a high-motor player but lacks bulk and is limited athletically. Matt Jones is intriguing, but so was Eric Crouch.

The pick here will be Dan Cody. Cody possesses unparalleled intensity and is a dominant pass rusher. Depression problems aside, he has the agility to make the move to outside linebacker and will be a force off of the edge. This is a pick Eli Manning will hate come week three, and is a player Chargers fans will come to love in no time at all. A great value selection here as well.

As you can see, the Chargers will face many tough decisions on draft day. These are the decisions they should make, and since last season's incredible draft has earned them the benefit of the doubt, I can say with confidence that these are the decisions they will make. Just don't forget where you heard it first.

Lightning Quicks: For any fans of the Colts, Steelers, Eagles or Patriots who feel left out by my 28 projected picks for the first round, here is how the rest of the round will shake out.

29. Indianapolis- Fabian Washington, CB, Nebraska
30. Pittsburgh- Matt Jones, WR/TE, Arkansas
31. Philadelphia- Reggie Brown, WR, Georgia
32. New England- Brodney Pool, S, Oklahoma

Michael Lombardo can be reached at Lombardo@SanDiegoSports.net

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