A.J. Smith Shopping Veterans for Draft Picks

A.J. Smith is on the prowl, looking to reclaim one or more of his missing draft picks between rounds two and four. The Chargers have several vets who could be on the block as Smith looks to recoup some draft-day sway. Chargers expect Michael Lombardo examines the three Chargers most likely to be moved, along with destinations for each.

ILB Matt Wilhelm

Although Wilhelm performed well in his first year as a starter, the Chargers suddenly have an abundance of depth at his position. With Anthony Waters coming back healthy and Derek Smith joining the club via free agency, the Chargers are six-deep at a position that can carry no more than five players.

Wilhelm posted 97 tackles and three interceptions as a first-year starter, which gives him solid trade value. Also, Wilhelm is more expendable than fellow starter Stephen Cooper, who is the team's defensive signal-caller and stoutest run-stopper.

The Chargers could net a second-round pick for Wilhelm from a linebacker-hungry team like the New York Giants, Miami Dolphins or Arizona Cardinals. A couple of Wilhelm's former coaches, Greg Manusky with the San Francisco 49ers and Wade Phillips with the Dallas Cowboys, could also be interested.

WR Eric Parker

If there is such a thing as too much depth, that's exactly what the Chargers are dealing with at wide receiver. Chris Chambers and Vincent Jackson are locked into the starting positions. Norv Turner wants Craig Davis to slide no further than No. 3 so that Davis can fulfill the potential that made him a first-round pick last season.

Legedu Naanee performed well as a rookie in the No. 4 role and Kassim Osgood's special-teams skills keep him locked in at No. 5.

That leaves little room for Parker, who caught more than 45 passes every year from 2004-06. Parker is a fantastic third-down receiver and a terrific presence in the locker room, but his spot in the rotation has been claimed by more talented players. The Bolts would likely expect a third-round pick for Parker.

One team that is sure to be interested is the Baltimore Ravens, where Cam Cameron is now the offensive coordinator. Cameron spoke glowingly of Parker during their time together in San Diego, and Parker could help revitalize a Ravens passing attack that ranked No. 23 in the league last season.

Other teams that could show interest are the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Chicago Bears, where Norv Turner's brother, Ron, is the offensive coordinator.

QB Charlie Whitehurst

Smith spent a first-day pick on Whitehurst in 2006, expecting him to supplant A.J. Feely as the backup quarterback behind Philip Rivers. With the trade for Billy Volek, and with Volek's recent three-year extension, Whitehurst no longer has a future in San Diego.

This year's free agent class has little to offer in the way of quarterbacks, so there is a definite market for Whitehurst. The Carolina Panthers and Atlanta Falcons are just two of the teams looking for a young, lively arm. If either offers a fourth-round pick, it will likely be enough to reel in Whitehurst.

Michael Lombardo is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and a long-time contributor to the Scout.com network. He has followed the Chargers for more than 14 years and covered the team since 2003.


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