Chargers draft another big-play receiver

Last season, Philip Rivers proved he is a franchise quarterback. Now, the Chargers are treating him like one. San Diego spent its fifth-round pick on a physical wide receiver who boasts terrific body control and a willingness to fight for tough catches. San Diego has now taken pass-catchers with three of its first five picks, making Rivers' job all the easier.

Legedu Naanee (6-foot-3, 225 lbs.) is still growing into the wide receiver position. He began his career at Boise State as a quarterback before transitioning to receiver late in the 2004 season. Over the last two years, he has totaled 69 receptions for 1,024 yards and 12 touchdowns. He was named first team All-WAC as a senior.

Naanee is a physical receiver who will go over the middle and break through arm tackles. Also, he has the athleticism to win jump balls and to make big plays in the open field.

The question regarding Naanee is whether he has the explosiveness to get off jams and beat man coverage. However, working with receivers coach James Lofton should prepare him to do all that and more.

Naanee is similar to Vincent Jackson, who the Chargers drafted in the second-round of the 2005 draft. Both came from smaller programs and entered the draft as big receivers with experience at tight end.

Jackson led the team in touchdown catches in 2006 and is projected to be the team's No. 1 receiver this year.

Naanee will come in and compete with Malcom Floyd to be the team's fourth receiver. Regardless of who wins that competition, Naanee should make the active roster. Also, because of his ability to contribute on special teams, he should be active on most game days.

Getting drafted into an explosive San Diego offense is a great thing for a player of Naanee's ability. It's a likewise coup for the Chargers, who can now watch Naanee, Jackson and Craig Davis grow alongside the still-ascending Rivers.


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