Bolts set up workout for potential top pick

The San Diego Chargers are beginning to shorten their draft-day wish list. With the Senior Bowl and Combine now in the rearview mirror, the team is starting to get a sense of how the draft may play out. The Chargers have set up a private workout with one player who has a good chance of sliding to the bottom of round one, with equally good odds of becoming a Charger if he makes it to No. 30.

Robert Meachem (6-foot-2, 214 lbs.) is a receiver with star potential. Hailing from the University of Tennessee, he is a classic late-bloomer. Between 2004 and 2005, he combined for 54 catches, 842 yards and six touchdowns. In 2006, he topped each of those two-year totals with 71 receptions, 1,298 yards and 11 scores.

As much as General Manager A.J. Smith would prefer a player who dominated throughout his college career, he is more concerned about what a player will do going forward. After all, he spent his first-round pick in 2006 on Antonio Cromartie, who had only one year of playing experience at the college level.

Cromartie put himself on the Chargers' radar with strong offseason workouts and it appears Meachem is doing the same thing. At the Combine, he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.39 seconds and caught the ball well. He was equally impressive at Tennessee's pro day.

"I thought Robert Meachem really solidified some of the thoughts people had about his willingness to compete and really sold himself," said Condredge Holloway, Tennessee's assistant athletics director for player relations.

In San Diego, Meachem would have an opportunity to crack the starting line-up as a rookie. He and Vincent Jackson would provide the team with a young pair of physical, athletic pass catchers to grow along with Philip Rivers.

It is that tempting scenario which prompted the Chargers to set up a private workout for Meachem. The team wants to be assured that he is as impressive in person as he is on film. Also, Smith wants to be certain of Meachem's high character, given the number of negative off-the-field incidents the Chargers endured last season.

The farm-bred, faith-reliant Meachem is likely to impress Smith with his personable nature and blue-collar work ethic. Assuming that holds true, the chances of him coming to San Diego on draft day increase exponentially.

Perhaps the greatest obstacle hindering the possible selection of Meachem is San Diego's unenviable slot in the draft. The Green Bay Packers, Tennessee Titans and Kansas City Chiefs are all threats to snag him before he falls to San Diego. Additionally, the 2007 class is deep at receiver, meaning the Chargers are unlikely to trade up to acquire him.

The odds of Meachem lasting until No. 30 are unknown. No matter what they are, the odds are even better that he won't make it to No. 31.


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