Making the grade

It is difficult to grade a team's draft before any of its draftees ever hit the field. That's no reason not to try. The positions targeted by the Chargers were predictable but the players picked were anything but. A.J. Smith broke several tendencies by trading up instead of down and failing to draft an offensive lineman for the first time since arriving in San Diego.

WR Craig "Buster" Davis (Rd. 1, Pick 30): Davis should provide a huge boost to a vastly undermanned receiving corps. He has the speed to stretch the field and the explosiveness to take a short pass the distance. However, the Chargers would have been a lot happier had Robert Meachem fell three more spots.

"When Craig gets in here and understands what we're doing and makes the adjustment that all college players have to make, he can be a guy that can play outside, he can play in the slot, he can be a reverse runner, he can move, run routes off of movement," Head Coach Norv Turner said.

Grade: B-

SS Eric Weddle (Rd. 2, Pick 37): The Chargers gave up a lot to acquire Weddle, but there was no other choice. There were only five impact safeties in the draft and the first four went in the top 24 picks. Weddle has the versatility to play either safety position and to cover slot receivers, too.

"He's a 205-lb., 5-foot-10½, physical guy. He's compact. He picks his spot and he can deliver a big blow," Turner said.

Grade: B+

ILB Anthony Waters (Rd. 3, Pick 96): The benefit of being a great team is the ability to take chances like this. If Waters fails to return to his pre-injury form, the Chargers should still be fine. But if he fully recovers, the team will have landed a first-round talent at the bottom of round three.

Grade: B

TE Scott Chandler (Rd. 4, Pick 129): True: San Diego needed a third tight end. Also true: Chandler will hardly see the field if Antonio Gates and Brandon Manumaleuna stay healthy. However, Chandler has the ability to be groomed into an effective two-way tight end. Had the team not fallen for Chandler, Ryan McBean would have made a great addition.

Grade: C

WR Legedu Naanee (Rd. 5, Pick 172): Naanee is a big receiver from a small program, making him a classic A.J. Smith selection, similar to Vincent Jackson in 2005 and Terry Charles in 2002. He has the toughness to go over the middle and the leaping ability to win jump balls. David Irons would have also been a great pick at this spot.

Grade: B-

ILB Brandon Siler (Rd. 7, Pick 240): This was the second time the Chargers double-dipped on a position, but it is hard to argue with a player of Siler's ability this late in the draft. He is a physical player with great range and quickness, and should combine with Waters to replace the depth lost by the promotions of Stephen Cooper and Matt Wilhelm.

Grade: A-


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