Consistency and potential enthralls San Diego

The Chargers will be faced with many tough decisions this weekend. As they weigh value versus need, risk versus reward, and productivity versus potential, the will encounter some very difficult dilemmas. Some decisions, however, may be much easier.

Bill Swancutt may be the easiest draft choice one coach makes this weekend. While it is still a mystery who that coach may be, the selection of Swancutt is just so easy to justify. He has posted double-digit sacks in each of the last three seasons, and is a high-energy player who never quits on a play.

"I think I'm a high-motor type of guy who produces big numbers as far as sacks," Swancutt said. "I'm consistent, always getting to the ball, dependable type of guy."

Players who fit the above description are rare finds in the draft, and accordingly many teams have already shown interest in Swancutt.

"Shoot, I've talked to quite a few teams," admits Swancutt. "Dallas. San Diego. Detroit. Carolina. Minnesota. Giants."

The Chargers are intrigued because Swancutt is one of the few defensive ends available who has enough size to bulk up and stay at end while still being able to rush the quarterback effectively. A lack of a pass rush has been a problem for the Chargers the last few years, and drafting Swancutt may very well be the solution.

Having stayed out of trouble, and instead in opponent's backfields, is now paying off for Swancutt. Teams know what kind of player he is and what kind of effort he will bring, and so need only to worry about preparing him for the physical adjustments to the pro game.

"Every level you go up, the competition is bigger, stronger, faster," says Swancutt. "That's what I'm preparing for, getting bigger, stronger and faster."

Swancutt has been a consistent and dependable playmaker, and so is deemed a safe pick for whoever selects him this weekend. It is interesting, in that the term safe pick has almost become derogatory, which the cliché low risk, low reward coming to mind. Swancutt, though, is the exception to the rule. He comes with low risk, yet ample reward.

"A lot of teams are impressed with the type of player I am," Swancutt said. "That I'm a high motor type player that always gets to the ball and never has any lulls or takes plays off."

It also helps that he has been coached by not one, but two men with NFL head coaching experience on their resumes. Swancutt was originally recruited to Oregon State by Dennis Erickson, former coach of the 49ers, and ended up also playing under Mike Riley, former coach of the Chargers.

In addition to being coached by former minds of the NFL, he was able to compete against future NFL opponents as well. His most worthy opponent was Khalif Barnes. Although the two did not face one another last year due to a timely injury suffered by Barnes, Swancutt still recalls their last encounter.

"Yeah, I got past him," brags Swancutt.

The two trained together at Athletes Performance in Tempe, as they prepare themselves for life in the NFL. And as they Chargers finalize their draft preparations, they would be wise to consider Swancutt. Because while he is no doubt a safe draft pick, he is the kind of player who may be very dangerous to pass up.

Michael Lombardo can be reached at

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