Grading the draft: San Diego Chargers

Four weeks later, the San Diego Chargers draft still looks good - even if Shawne Merriman has decided, on the advice of his agent, to sit out the offseason workouts.

1 (12) Shawne Merriman * DE/OLB Maryland
(From NY Giants)
1 (28) Luis Castillo * DT Northwestern
2 (61) Vincent Jackson * WR Northern Colorado
4 (130) Darren Sproles * RB Kansas State
5 (164) Wesley Britt* OT Alabama
6 (177) Wes Sims *OT Oklahoma
7 (242) Scott Mruczkowski * C Bowling Green

Analysis: The Chargers were seeking a pass-rushing presence from the defensive end or outside linebacker and they have filled the void with the selection of Merriman. A fast riser on draft boards due to his athletic ability and desire, Merriman will be counted on to step in and improve a San Diego pass rush that underachieved last season. Merriman is an impact type player when given the opportunity to attack and, in the San Diego 3-4 defensive scheme, will be given the opportunity to make plays.

Steroid concerns did not chase the Chargers away from selecting perhaps the best defensive tackle on the board in Luis Castillo. Very strong and intense, Castillo is a fireball and will be a very strong player in San Diego's 3-4 defense, where his quickness will provide the Chargers with an element the team struggled with last season - pass rush from the defensive line.

While the Chargers missed on the opportunity to select one of the top-rated wide receivers in the draft (Edwards, Williams, Clayton) they have secured the services of a riser on numerous team draft boards, Vincent Jackson. A smooth route runner, with good hands, and quickness, Jackson will provide the Chargers will a large target in the passing game, as well as a potentially physical, red-zone presence.

Grade: A

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