Chris Steuber: There are three tackles worthy of being selected in the top-15 next season: Mississippi's Michael Oher, Alabama's Andre Smith and Virginia's Eugene Monroe.Smith is an underclassman and he still has to declare for the draft, but with him likely being a top-five pick, he will forego his final season. Personally, I believe that Oher is the top tackle in the draft and is a lock to be a top-three pick, if not the No. 1 overall selection. Monroe is the most intriguing, especially for a team like the Chargers. He can play inside and both tackle positions. He's athletic and moves very well for a player of his stature.
However, the problems the Chargers had on defense this season when Shawne Merriman went out with an injury were alarming. The addition of another quality linebacker, especially when you run a 3-4 defense, will have a bigger impact on the team next year than an offensive lineman.
ML: Personally, I think San Diego's top need in the draft is a running back to partner with LaDainian Tomlinson. Assuming that's the direction the Chargers go, who are the top prospects available and which ones make the most sense for San Diego?
RB LaDainian Tomlinson
But if you're curious about the running back class in next year's draft, it has a chance to be as special as the 2008 class if most of the top underclassmen declare for the draft. The top five draft-eligible running back prospects are: Chris Wells (Ohio State), Knowshon Moreno (Georgia), LeSean McCoy (Pittsburgh), Shonn Greene (Iowa) and C.J. Spiller (Clemson). The interesting thing is that all five are underclassmen.
The top senior running back is Javon Ringer (Michigan State), and he'll most likely be selected in the second round. If the five aforementioned underclassmen declare, I'd say that Greene fits the best; he has a similar running style to Michael Turner. He's a bruising back between the tackles and has the elusiveness to be feared on the edge. Greene has to work on his hands and be more effective out of the backfield, but as an early second-round pick he has great value.
Spiller would also be a nice option in the second round. He has the explosiveness needed if Darren Sproles leaves at the end of the season, and, as a bonus, he's a tremendous return specialist.
ML: In your latest mock draft, you have the Chargers selecting USC linebacker Rey Maualuga in the first round. Why do you believe he is a good fit for San Diego?
CS: When you play a 3-4 scheme, attacking linebackers are essential to a team's success. Maualuga is one of the most instinctive linebackers I've ever seen. He makes plays all over the field and is always in the perfect spot to make a game-changing play. He's versatile and can play inside or outside, cover and get after the quarterback. He's the complete package.
Even though Merriman is expected to return at 100 percent next season, you never know how a knee will react after major surgery. The explosion that Merriman had prior to the injury may not return, and that's a concern moving forward; with Maualuga it provides the team with a backup plan. Can you imagine a linebacker core that consists of Merriman, Maualuga, Shaun Phillips and Stephen Cooper, with Anthony Waters coming off the bench? That's pretty special.
ML: Another area the Chargers must address is the defensive line, especially with Jamal Williams aging and Igor Olshansky likely departing as a free agent. Who are this year's top D-linemen, keeping in mind the Chargers run a three-man front?
NT Jamal Williams
If Cody declares, he will likely be a mid-first-round pick. But if the Chargers want to wait until the second round to select a defensive lineman, Boston College's B.J. Raji (6-foot-1, 325 pounds) is a nice alternative. In the third round, Ron Brace (6-foot-3, 326 pounds) -- another BC standout -- could be a steal. Another first-round option for the Chargers could be LSU defensive end Tyson Jackson. Jackson has great size (6-foot-4, 295 pounds), can play inside or outside and is ideal for a 3-4.
ML: Another position the Chargers will look at is fullback, as Jacob Hester and Mike Tolbert have done better as receivers than blockers. Are there any bulldozing-type fullbacks in this draft who could replace what Lorenzo Neal brought to the offense?
CS: You're starting to see more versatility from the fullback position, and there are not a lot of great bulldozers any longer. But the player you may want to keep an eye on is Georgia's Brannan Southerland. He's the best fullback in the country and does a lot of the dirty work that's allowed Knowshon Moreno, who seems to have patterned his game after LaDainian Tomlinson, to have a lot of his success.
ML: There is a good chance the Chargers could lose Darren Sproles to free agency. If this happens, who are some of the top kick returners who could fill his shoes?
CS: I think it would be a big mistake for the Chargers not to re-sign Sproles, but if he does get away from San Diego next year, there are a few good return specialists that the Chargers could select. As I previously mentioned, C.J. Spiller would be an ideal selection, as he is a dual threat out of the backfield and in the return game.
Jeremy Maclin (Missouri) is a highly touted draft-eligible (redshirt sophomore) wide receiver, who will be a top-15 selection next April; he's one of the most explosive return specialists in the nation. Penn State WR Derrick Williams and Connecticut CB Darius Butler are two excellent return men who are multi-dimensional and can star in many ways. Other return specialists to keep an eye on are: Joe Burnett (Central Florida), Travis Shelton (Temple) and Michael Ray Garvin (Florida State).
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. Steuber's features are published across the Scout.com network and on FoxSports.com.