Sticking with Sapp
Clemson's Ricky Sapp, one of the top 3-4 OLB prospects in this year's draft, interviewed with the Chargers at the NFL Combine on Saturday. It was at least the second time he's met with team officials this offseason, as Sapp told Scout.com's Charlie Bernstein shortly after the Senior Bowl he'd already met with San Diego.
Sapp could be a candidate for the Chargers in either the first or second round, depending on how his stock fluctuates between now and April. It would be surprising for the team to draft an OLB so high after taking Larry English in the first round last year, but it's certainly possible given the team's tepid pass rush (35 sacks) and the uncertain future of Shawne Merriman.
OLB Ricky Sapp
"Teams are asking me about [playing in a 3-4] and how fast I can get the defense down," he said. "I told them I'll have no problem with that. I'm a visual learner and a fast learner, so I will have no problem fitting in a 3-4 scheme."
Sapp played 50 games in four years at Clemson and finished with 149 tackles, 49 TFLs and 17 sacks. He tore his right ACL in November 2008 and, although he returned to start all 14 games in '09, played his senior year with his knee at just 60 percent. He skipped the Senior Bowl to give his knee more time to heal, but figures to be healthy in time for offseason workouts.
Sproles to St. Louis?
Rams head coach Steve Spagnuolo was asked at the Combine if his team would make a run at Darren Sproles as a complement to Steven Jackson.
"Even last year we were looking for a running back," Spagnuolo said. "I think we have a couple guys there now that give us a couple options, pass protection-wise.
"But Steven doesn't want to lessen any load and that's the great thing about having a great player like that. He wants the football, and he wants to help his team win. But we'll look at all guys like [Sproles]."
RB Keiland Williams
Williams (5-foot-11, 233 pounds) finished with 591 yards from scrimmage and six TDs last season as the backup to Charles Scott. He is one of the most complete backs that will be available late in the draft, mostly because he broke his ankle late in the year.
Williams is still on the mend and is not participating in drills in Indianapolis.
"I am about 80 percent, probably could really run if I wanted to, but as far as shake-wise, I'm not where I want to be," he said.
Williams believes the Chargers would get a steal by adding him to the rotation.
"I think they would be getting a very versatile back who is capable of just being well-rounded from the physical standpoint, the medical and the mental standpoint of the game. Someone that can really come in early and contribute," he said.
The Chargers have shown strong interest in several running backs at the Combine, including Lonyae Miller (read more) and Jonathan Dwyer (read more).
---Cal defensive lineman Tyson Alualu is a player Chargers fans need to watch. His stout presence versus the run and experience in the 3-4 make him a strong candidate in the second round.
Alualu (6-foot-2, 291 pounds) is an interesting prospect because he played almost strictly 3-4 at Cal. He thinks it's a great advantage having teams see him in a 3-4 rather than projecting him there. He's doing all the drills at the NFL Combine and wants to show off his athletic ability. A laid-back person off the field, the game turns on his intensity. He says the toughest offensive linemen he faced in college football are Utah's Zane Beadles and USC's Charles Brown.
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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. You can see more of his updates by following him on twitter.