Chargers Draft Dish: Third Time's a Charm

As tracks the Chargers' draft interests, some reoccurring themes begin to appear. A.J. Smith seems determined to fortify the trenches on both sides of the ball, as three linemen have confirmed they met with the Bolts three times this offseason: at the Senior Bowl, the NFL Combine and their respective Pro Days.

The Chargers met with Pittsburgh offensive lineman Mike McGlynn at the Senior Bowl and the NFL Combine, and plan to attend his Pro Day on March 24. McGlynn is a similar player to the man he would replace, Shane Olivea, in that he can play either right tackle or guard. He boasts tremendous size (6'5", 318 pounds) and has the power to back it up; he delivered more than 100 knockdown blocks last season.

McGlynn is one of the most durable players in the draft. He was a four-year starter and played in all 47 of his career games. He proved to be extremely reliable, making 31 consecutive starts from 2004-06. McGlynn is one of the players San Diego will consider with its compensatory pick.

"I feel that I am very fortunate to be in the position that I'm in right now. Every kid in the world would love to be in the position that I'm in right now and I make sure to remind myself that everyday," McGlynn said.

OL Heath Benedict
Newberry College

Another offensive lineman the Chargers met with on three occasions this offseason is Heath Benedict of Newberry College. The small-school lineman has shown he can play with the big boys, holding his own at the Senior Bowl and Combine. Like McGlynn, Benedict could play either right tackle or guard.

Benedict, who won the South Atlantic Conference Jacobs Blocking Trophy as a senior, would be a classic A.J. Smith selection. Smith loves to gamble on small-school players and prefers to land offensive linemen on the second day of the draft. Benedict should go in the third or fourth round.

"(My pre-draft workouts) have been a good experience and I've met a lot of good guys. I'm really excited to see where I end up in the draft," Benedict said.

On the defensive side of the ball, the Chargers have shown an escalating interest in North Carolina State defensive lineman Demario Pressley. Two assets Pressley brings to the table are experience and versatility. He played 1,112 snaps for the Wolfpack, second most in school history, and split his time at tackle and end.

Pressley has the size (6'3", 301 pounds) and selfless attitude to thrive in Ted Cottrell's 3-4 defense. Pressley, a projected fourth-round pick, would be a better fit at end but has the power and leverage to log some snaps in relief of Jamal Williams.

"You're going to hit each play, you're going to hit every down and your job will not get easier," said Pressley of playing nose tackle. "It takes a man to play that position and I enjoy playing it."

San Diego is a hard team to get a feel for prior to the draft. As agent David Canter puts it: "The Chargers are one of those teams where you can never tell whether they like your guy."

But if San Diego's three meetings with the aforementioned players are any indication, chances are at least one of them will be drafted to win some battles in the trenches.

Michael Lombardo is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and a long-time contributor to the network. His analysis has been published by, and MySpace Sports. He has followed the Chargers for more than 15 years and covered the team since 2003.

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