Grading the Draft: San Diego

After the untimely passing of general manager John Butler who was suffering from cancer, the war room decision making for the Chargers was left up to Marty Schottenheimer and new general manager A.J. Smith. San Diego is a team just a few players away from making the playoffs and hoped to bring in the final pieces.

Round Pick Player Pos School
1 30(30) Sammy Davis CB Texas A&M
2 14(46) Drayton Florence CB Tuskegee
2 30(62) Terrence Kiel S Texas A&M
3 16(80) Courtney VanBuren OT UAPB
4 15(112) Matt Wilhelm ILB Ohio St.
5 14(149) Mike Scifres P W. Illinois
6 15(188) Hanik Milligan S Houston
7 15(229) Andrew Pinnock FB South Carolina

UDFA of Note: Rob Adamson/QB/Mount Union, Phil Bogle/G/New Haven, Kevin Breedlove/G/Georgia, Dralinn Burks/ T/Kansas St., Jacques Cesaire/DE/South Connecticut St., Greg Cole/LB/Kansas, Stephen Cooper/OLB/Maine, Dahrran Diedrick/RB/Nebraska, Kris Dielman/DT/Indiana, Antonio Gates/TE/Kent St, Omari Hand/DE/Tennessee, Antoineo Harris/RB/Illinois, Cedric Henry/CB/Michigan St, Mackenzie Hoambrecker/K/Northern Iowa, Chad Killian/FB/Maryland, Jordan Kramer/OLB/Idaho, Tim Love/ DT/Harding, Josh Lyman/WR/Utah, Nick Maddox/RB/Florida St, Grant Mattos/WR/USC, DeMarco McCleskey/RB/Cincinnati, LaMarcus McDonald/LB/TCU, Kassim Osgood/WR/San Diego St, Brian Sump/WR/Colorado Mines, Tony Terrell/G/UNLV, Alex Tuttle/T/Northwest Missouri

One big area of need was in the secondary and after trading down San Diego made Sammy Davis their initial pick, once again taking another corner from the state of Texas in round one. Davis is a solid cover-man with decent size and abilities to play in several formations. He rebounded nicely after a poor showing at the Senior Bowl and represented himself well at the combine. With a good upside to his game, expect Davis to be starting early into his rookie campaign.

The next three picks, including a pair that were in the second round, were reaches to our mind.

Drayton Florence passes the eyeball test and really looks the part. Though a solid cover corner he lacks the dominance that warranted an early round pick from a small school player. We do not think he is as good as former college teammate Roosevelt Williams, taken in the third round of the 2002 draft by the Bears, and his game needs a lot of work. After closely watching him at the Senior Bowl and on film, we were surprised he went this high.

Another San Diego pick impressive to the eyeball, Terrence Kiel, was an underachiever at Texas A&M and a defensive back that does not possess a feel in pass coverage. While he is tough and physical against the run, Kiel's first move is up the field and he is constantly being caught out of position in deep coverage. Factor in a lack of pure instincts and you see where we are going. Kiel will now be on the sidelines the next 4-to-6 weeks after surgery was required to remove a bullet near his abdomen and fragments close to his knee after he was the victim of a gunshot wound during an attempted carjacking.

Offensive line has been an area of major concern for the team; in fact, many thought the franchise would address the position in round one. Though we think Courtney Van Buren is a prospect with a good amount of upside, we did not figure on him being a first day choice. Van Buren is a mammoth blocker and a good athlete but needs a lot of work on his game.

Matt Wilhelm surprised many people during individual workouts, which improved his draft rankings almost two rounds. His head for the game and appetite for contact could help Wilhelm secure a place with the first team next season.

Punter Mike Scifres has a solid leg and his ability to directional kick could help him stick on the final roster.

Hanik Milligan is big and knocks the socks off opponents with devastating hits but is best in the box and a safety with very limited range and skills in pass coverage.

An offensive threat at fullback, Andrew Pinnock can be a devastating lead blocker when he puts his mind to it as well as a dominant short yardage runner. Highly rated coming into the season, a poor senior campaign coupled with a seemingly unwillingness to cooperate in the post season knocked Pinnock to the last frame.

The franchise signed a ton of undrafted prospects concentrating on the offensive line and in the defensive backfield.  DeMarco McCleskey, LaMarcus McDonald and Kassim Osgood, from none of the above positions, were all excellent additions that could make the team.

Analysis: Marty Schottenheimer is known to like drafting defensive backs, but he went overboard this time. This is the quintessential Schottenheimer draft, and that is not good if you are a Charger fan. Schott can coach, but his decisions on draft day are suspect. The late John Butler, a stalwart in the personnel field, pieced together the makings of a solid franchise and the team must now find someone to replace Butler. 


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