Chargers Trade Up to Tab RB/FB Jacob Hester

San Diego filled its need for depth at running back and fullback with a single pick. The Chargers traded into the third round to tab LSU runner Jacob Hester, a do-it-all back who can run, block and catch. In exchange, San Diego shipped its fifth-round pick in 2008 and a second-round pick in 2009 to the New England Patriots.

The Chargers continued to target high character players by selecting RB/FB Jacob Hester in the third round of the NFL draft. San Diego had to deal with the devil to make it happen, sending two draft picks to the New England Patriots.

The Patriots, who manage the draft better than anybody, are always willing to swap current picks for future selections, so long as the future picks are in higher rounds. A.J. Smith was reluctant to feed the machine but his hand was forced by his limited number of draft picks.

The move was a logical one for Smith, who saw no need to work three picks short in this year's draft when he had a full allotment in store for 2009. San Diego expects to receive two compensatory picks next year, as well, because of the free agent defections of Michael Turner and Drayton Florence, which only lessens the blow of today's trade.

Hester will be the power back the Chargers need to replace . Hester (5'10", 226 pounds) is listed is a fullback but earned his keep by toting the rock last season. In 2007, he carried 225 times for 1,103 yards (4.9 avg.) and 12 TDs. He also chipped in 14 catches for 106 yards and an additional score.

The knock on Hester is that he does eveything well but is not outstanding in any one area. In fact, his best traits may be his intangibles, as he's a high-motor player with a high football IQ.

Hester also provides depth at fullback, where incumbent Andrew Pinnock is coming off microfracture knee surgery. Hester and Pinnock are both hybrid backs who excel working out of one-back sets, a formation the Chargers will deploy more often in 2008.

A Scout's Perspective

Tom Marino is a former pro scout with more than 30 years experience in the league. Here's his analysis of Hester.

"Tough inside runner who showed strength and determination, particularly on red zone and short-yardage situations. Totally unselfish and dependable. Can break inside tackles and move the pile. Is a stright line runner and, although he is a willing blocker, didn't adjust effectively on the move. Never going to be a great player, but is going to contribute in many ways to winning ball games."

A Familiar Face

Hester will be united with a familiar face in San Diego, WR Buster Davis. Davis was San Diego's first-round pick a year ago, so A.J. Smith is obviously paying attention to LSU's winning ways.

Speaking of familiarity,'s Amberly Richardson first talked with Hester about the possibility of playing in San Diego when they shared a plane ride back from the NFL Combine. Click here to chat with Amberly about the experience in the message boards.

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