Bolts pick Waters; replenish linebacker depth

A.J. Smith may be the only general manager in the NFL who targets players coming off ACL injuries. A year after taking Antonio Cromartie in round one, Smith spent a third-round pick on Anthony Waters, an inside linebacker who underwent surgery to repair a torn ACL on September 18, 2006. Waters is fit now and ready to fill the void created by the departures of Donnie Edwards and Randall Godfrey.

Although the injury spoiled his 2006 season, Waters' skills and prior production were too much to ignore. In 2005, he posted 109 tackles and was given All-Conference recognition.

Waters (6-foot-3, 242 lbs.) is a physical defender, adept at fighting through blocks and chasing down running backs. Additionally, he is a sure tackler who hits with power and drives through opposing ball carriers.

There are some drawbacks -- he is limited in coverage and occasionally runs himself out of plays -- but overall, a player of his ability would be given first-round consideration were it not for the medical red flags.

In San Diego, he will join what looks to be an intense competition for playing time at inside linebacker. Stephen Cooper and Matt Wilhelm are set to assume starting roles for the first time in their careers, while Tim Dobbins and Waters will fight for snaps behind them.

The addition of Waters, along with the previous selection of Eric Weddle, will also provide a boost to the Chargers' coverage units.

The Chargers now have three picks remaining, one each in rounds four, five and seven. And despite the team's impressive depth, there are still plenty of players left on the board who are capable of contributing to a championship drive.

Here are some of players the team may be targeting on day two:

Wide Receivers

David Clowney, Virginia Tech
Aundrae Allison, East Carolina
Rhema McKnight, Notre Dame

Offensive Guards

Manuel Ramirez, Texas Tech
Mansfield Wrotto, Georgia Tech
Corey Davis, James Madison

Defensive Ends

Ryan McBean, Oklahoma State
Kareem Brown, Miami
David Patterson, Ohio State


A.J. Davis, NC State
David Irons, Auburn
C.J. Wilson, Baylor

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