Davis Exemplifies SD's Draft Slump

The San Diego Chargers' recent record of missed draft picks obtained another blemish on Wednesday as the team placed former first-round pick Buster Davis on injured-reserve with a nagging groin injury. Davis has been passed on the depth chart by Malcom Floyd and Legedu Naanee, leaving his future with the organization in doubt.

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Buster Davis lands on injured-reserve after playing in just four games. He only caught four balls on the season before being sidelined with an injured groin. His last reception came during a Week 5 matchup with the Miami Dolphins, after which he did an exclusive interview with SDBoltReport.com (click here to read the transcript).

Davis has always been prone to nagging injuries, something the Chargers knew before selecting him out of LSU with the No. 30 pick in the 2007 draft. Davis quickly reaffirmed his reputation after being hindered by an ankle injury in 2007 and now a strained groin in 2008.


WR Buster Davis
Harry How/Getty

Despite the inconsistency and shoddy numbers, Davis will likely be back with the team next season. Although he's unlikely to be a significant part of the rotation in 2009, the Chargers want to see if he can stay healthy and be a potential contributor in 2010. That's because, after the 2009 season, Vincent Jackson, Chris Chambers and Floyd are all scheduled for unrestricted free agency.

Davis was replaced on the roster by seventh-round pick Corey Clark, who spent nearly a week on the practice squad to make room for S Tra Battle. Clark is another player with 2010 in his sights; after the 2009 season, Marcus McNeill, Jeromey Clary and L.J. Shelton are set to become unrestricted free agents. (Click here for an exclusive interview with Clark.)

Davis and Clark are a part of a two-year span of underwhelming drafts picks. LB Anthony Waters (third round, 2007), TE Scott Chandler (fourth round, 2007), CB Paul Oliver (fourth round, 2007 supplemental draft) and RB Jacob Hester (third round, 2008) are among the players from those classes who have yet to meet expectations.

Recent team success and a string of trades have stacked the deck against GM A.J. Smith. The Chargers have been slotted to pick No. 19 or lower in each of the last four drafts. Also, the team was without its second-round pick in 2008 because of the 2007 trade for Chambers. The Bolts will be without a second-rounder again in 2009 thanks to this year's trade for Hester.

The Chargers are a team built through the draft, as 42 of the team's 53 players were either drafted by the team or signed as undrafted free agents. Smith must reassert himself as a draft-day wizard, because the magic appears to be running out.

Does Davis have a future in SD? Click here to thresh it out in the message boards.

Michael Lombardo is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and a long-time contributor to the Scout.com 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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