Grade B Meat

I watched the NFL draft a few weekends ago, and like many fans I had determined that Free Safety, Defensive End and the Offensive Line were the key areas that my San Diego Chargers needed help.

I figured these three positions were most important if the Chargers were to put last season's playoff team over the top going into this coming season.

Did the team's braintrust agree?
Do I agree?
Do you agree?

Let's grade the results so far with minicamp set to begin this weekend.

Defensive End: Pass rush can come from either Defensive End spot, or from an Outside Linebacker position, or anywhere else on the field as long as it comes.

Shawne Merriman can either stand up or put a hand down, so he brings a much needed versatility to the Chargers 3-4, even if he never becomes more than just a one dimensional pass rusher. He still adds more to the sum of the whole defense by allowing Wade Phillips to disguise his blitzes because of how and where he can line Merriman up.

I have to conclude that by helping the pass rush with a so called tweener, the Chargers have addressed DE in a round about way. Now let's get him in camp and stop the yearly rhetoric. B+

Offensive Line: Three picks on the second day of the draft may not be what most had in mind, but what really matters is who you get, not so much where you get them.

I can't remember the Chargers ever picking three Offensive Linemen in any draft.

Between OT Wesley Britt, OG Wes Sims, and C Scott Mruczkowski, one of these guys should be able to claim the Right Guard spot away from Mike Goff, and the rest can contribute with much needed depth along the long overlooked line.

I believe A.J. Smith chose three guys who will surprise, in fact, A.J. was probably himself surprised they were each still around so late in this draft. B+

Free Safety: For two days straight, my mantra before each choice was Safety-Safety-Safety-Safety-Safety-Safety-Safety-Safety-Safety-Safety-Safety-Safety.

I continue to believe that the quickest way to make this secondary perform to their potential is to replace FS Jerry Wilson.

It didn't happen during this draft, yet considering the offseason as a whole the team signed a Free Agent in Bhawoh Jue, and the undrafted guys AJ brought in include three Cornerbacks (Markus Curry, Abraham Elimimian, Gabe Franklin) and a Safety (Jason Leach) who may yet produce a starting Free Safety from this group at some point.

The Jury is still out as to whether they filled this gaping hole. C-

So far I'm at two B+s and a C-, let?s see... B+ + B+ + C- = B-

Plus: When the Chargers started off day two of the draft by selecting a Running Back with their first pick, I hit the freaking roof.

"We have the best RB in the NFL, two guys who could start for other teams sitting behind him, and two more guys who are first and second in rushing in Europe right now who have absolutely no chance of making this team!!!!?"

Psychologists tell us that multiple exclamation points are a symptom of insanity. We plead temporary insanity. Once we calmed down, we realized that Darren Sproles will bring a dimension to the Charger offense the Bolts haven't had since Ronnie Harmon was here. We were able to achieve Harmony with this pick. A-

B+ + B+ + C- + A- = B

Wait, I forgot to carry the Wide Receiver: I remember passing Math like it was a kidney stone. WR Vincent Jackson is a project. A big project with speed and hands, but he's not expected to contribute right away. When he does, look out for mismatches in the opposing secondaries when they try to man up with Jackson and fellow behemoth TE Antonio Gates.

I don't envy those little coverage Corners. B-

Without dragging out the abacus again, this brings us to a solid B for the draft.

One downgrade for DT: Grade A Meat once injected with hormones becomes Grade B meat in my book.

Nose Tackle Luis Castillo would have been an A, but he drops a grade for cheating.

Yet the Bolts gain because he lasted until the 28th pick, and Castillo gains because he was selected by a quality team in the first round courtesy of Androstenedione.

Who loses? Students of the game who learn most by example. B


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