Chris Steuber: A rookie cornerback always has a tough transition to the NFL because of the speed the wide receivers in the League possess. But the transition is much easier if he's playing in nickel situations. Cason is a highly intelligent corner with very good instincts and playmaking ability. He has to play a little more physically to handle the inside job, but he's crafty enough and has the mobility necessary to get a good break on the ball and make plays.
RB Jacob Hester
CS: If you're a football fan, what's not to like about Jacob Hester? He's a football player; a guy who will do whatever he has to to help his team win. Not only is he a quality running back who is a solid receiver, but he's a tremendous special-teams player. I think Hester is more of a running back, and he will get a few carries at the position while LaDainian Tomlinson takes a breather. But I think Hester's true value will be realized as a receiver coming out of the backfield or lining up in the slot.
ML: The Chargers drafted two cornerbacks (Cason and DeJuan Tribble) and two running backs (Hester and Marcus Thomas) this year. What are your thoughts on this draft strategy in general? Is it a good way to make sure positions of need are shored up? Or are teams better off trying to address other areas of need?
CS: The Chargers were one of a few teams placed in a challenging situation, as their draft picks were spread thin. They didn't hold a second- or fourth-round selection, and sometimes not having picks in certain rounds changes your strategy, depending on how the draft board shakes out. But if you take a look at what the Chargers did, I think it fit their needs. The Chargers lost Michael Turner and Drayton Florence in free agency – two key veterans who played significant roles on the team. Doubling up at the cornerback and running back positions in the draft was a smart move, and it provides the Chargers with much needed depth.
CB DeJuan Tribble
CS: I definitely think Oliver is a better prospect than Tribble. If Oliver were in this past April's draft, he would have been a late-second, early-third round selection. He has good size and speed, and it appears the Chargers are working him out at free safety. I personally think Oliver is best suited to be a corner, but when you have Cromartie and Jammer as your starters, I'm sure Oliver will do whatever he has to do to get on the field.
ML: The Chargers drafted OT Corey Clark in the seventh round and picked up Missouri OT Tyler Luellen as an undrafted free agent. There isn't a need for either one to play right away, but San Diego figures to have a big need at the position two years from now, as Marcus McNeill, Jeromey Clary and L.J. Shelton will all be free agents after the 2009 season. Given that two-year time frame, does Clark or Luellen have the better chance of developing into a starting-caliber player?
CS: That's a good question, and I think we will have to see how it plays out. Corey Clark and Tyler Luellen have flaws, but they possess the physical tools necessary to become NFL starters. They're similar in stature and in play, but it will come down to who fits the offense the best. They're both pass protectors and have to improve their run blocking. If I had to take a guess at which one has the best chance at developing into a starter, I'd favor Luellen.
Anthony Waters, Brandon Siler
CS: I really like Anthony Waters. If he didn't tear is left ACL during his senior season at Clemson, he would have been a late-first, early-second round pick. He has a chance to be a special player in a Chargers defense that likes to get after the quarterback. If Waters is 100 percent healthy, I expect him to make an impact this season. Siler is a nice player and will most likely be a role player and a special-teams standout.
A member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of America, Chris Steuber has provided his analysis of the NFL and NFL Draft prospects on the web and on the radio since 1999.