Bolts Host Private Visit With Late-Round RB

The Chargers only have one pick in the first four rounds, so it's possible some areas of need will go unaddressed. In preparation for such a scenario, A.J. Smith has arranged private visits with possible priority free agents.'s Adam Caplan confirms one such running back enjoyed a visit to Chargers Park. has the details.

The Chargers brought in Richmond running back Tim Hightower for a private visit. Hightower (6'0", 226 pounds) is the type of power back well suited to replace Michael Turner. Hightower prides himself on his ability to run over would-be tacklers and pick up tough yards, qualities that are reminiscent of the man he would replace.

In 2007, Hightower earned first-team All-Colonial Athletic Association honors after putting together a statistical masterpiece. He carried 327 times for a school-record 1,924 yards (5.9 avg) and 20 touchdowns. He also chipped in 32 receptions for 228 yards and three TDs.

His monster senior year was hardly an aberration. In his three years as a starter, he compiled 3,712 rushing yards, 818 receiving yards and 39 total touchdowns. Those are the kind of per-game numbers one would expect from the man Hightower would back up in San Diego.

Whether the Chargers make a play for Hightower will depend on what happens in the earlier rounds of the draft. If San Diego lands a running back like Jonathan Stewart in round one, that likely bumps Hightower from the equation. The same is true if San Diego trades down and grabs a running back in round two or three, someone like Tashard Choice or Matt Forte.

However, if A.J. Smith chooses to go elsewhere with his early picks – a distinct possibility given the needs at offensive tackle, cornerback, safety and nose tackle – then Hightower becomes a strong candidate. San Diego could even use a sixth- or seventh-round pick on him to avoid losing him in the undrafted free agent pool.

The Chargers have been actively scouting running backs all offseason. Between the Senior Bowl and the NFL Combine, the Bolts met with Chris Johnson (East Carolina), Justin Forsett (California), Rafael Little (Kentucky) and Cory Boyd (South Carolina), among others.

Additionally, the Chargers have conducted private visits with at least four running backs other than Hightower: Tashard Choice (Georgia Tech), Matt Forte (Tulane), Owen Schmitt (West Virginia) and one other back who will be revealed tomorrow exclusively on

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 the NFL Network, Fox Sports and MySpace Sports. He has followed the Chargers for more than 15 years and covered the team since 2003.

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