Everyone talks about the need at defensive end, where there's a glaring hole on the right side after the offseason defection of DE Igor Olshansky, but there is also a big need at nose tackle. Starter Jamal Williams will turn 33 before training camp opens and is severely limited by chronic knee pain.
The Chargers played most of last season without a true backup nose tackle, instead using defensive ends Ryon Bingham and Jacques Cesaire to spell Williams. That strategy may not work so well in 2009, especially if Bingham and Cesaire are needed more at defensive end to make up for Olshansky's absence.
Potential draft targets include Michigan DT Terrance Taylor (6-foot-1, 314 pounds) and Stillman College DT Sammie Lee Hill (6-foot-4, 328 pounds), who the Chargers reportedly hosted for a private visit.
|WR Aaron Kelly |
With Osgood on the trading block (and a candidate to be released if not traded), the Chargers could draft a receiver to fill the No. 6 role with hopes of him making an impact in 2010.
Possibilities at receiver include BYU WR Austin Collie (6-foot-2, 206 pounds) and Clemson WR Aaron Kelly (6-foot-5, 193 pounds), who had a formal meeting with the Chargers at the NFL Combine.
When analysts talk about San Diego's need at linebacker, it's the inside spot that gets most of the focus. That's understandable, as San Diego needs to find a steady complement to Stephen Cooper, but don't overlook the need at outside linebacker. The Chargers don't know what to expect from Shawne Merriman, who is coming off knee surgery, and must protect themselves in case he does not return to form.
This may be the perfect time to draft a 3-4 outside linebacker, according to NFL Draft Analyst Mike Mayock: "This is the best year I've ever seen for the amount of college 4-3 defensive ends that will be asked to play outside linebacker," he said.
Included on that list are Oregon State DE Victor Butler (6-foot-2, 241 pounds), who had a formal meeting with the Chargers at the NFL Combine, and Eastern Illinois DE Pierre Walters (6-foot-4, 269 pounds), who enjoyed a private meeting with the team.
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.