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Chargers 2011 Draft Forecast

Discussion in 'Latest Chargers News & Headlines' started by ChargerRay, Apr 23, 2011.

  1. ChargerRay

    ChargerRay Producer/Host of BoltTalk Staff Member Super Moderator Podcaster

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    By Loren S. Casuto
    BoltTalk Staff Writer

    For yet another year I will provide who I think the Chargers will select in this
    year’s draft. Unlike previous years I’ve done this, the Chargers have immediate
    needs all over the place especially considering the potential to lose numerous
    valuable contributors if/when there is free agency. Combine this with the first time
    in five years that the Chargers didn’t make the playoffs, and you have a team and a
    GM that needs to nail this draft. While some of this might be hopeful/wishful
    thinking, I think the Chargers stand a good chance selecting these players. So
    without further delay:

    With the 18th pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, the San Diego Chargers select
    Cameron Jordan Defensive End from California


    The Chargers might have many needs but defensive line is definitely a
    priority. Though they found a gem in Antonio Garay and have a potential great
    player in Cam Thomas, their defensive ends have been mediocre at best. Luis
    Castillo is getting better but is vastly overpaid and hasn’t lived up to the promise he
    showed in his rookie season, that’s of course when you can get him onto the field.
    Jacques Cesaire is a good player and has done very well considering, but he’s a free
    agent and has always been better suited for a backup role. Vaughn Martin has made
    great strides but still has a ways to go before he can be a good backup, let alone a
    starter. Travis Johnson and Ogemdi Nwagbuo haven’t shown much either along with
    the former being a free agent. The Chargers have got to find someone to put
    opposite Castillo.

    The son of Vikings pro-bowl tight end Steve Jordan, Cameron has been
    prepared for the NFL his whole life. At 6’4 287 he ‘s the perfect size for a 3-4 DE
    with great speed, long arms and huge hands. He shows great speed for his size and
    exceptional power along with outstanding balance and control. He is a dominating
    run stopper, the primary job for a 3-4 DE, routinely knocks blockers back and away
    and also shows a great ability to disengage from offensive linemen. He dominated
    OT Nate Solder in both the Senior Bowl and the game versus Colorado as well as
    being instrumental in shutting down Oregon’s high powered offense. He never quits
    and will take advantage of anyone napping, as well as showing incredible instincts
    and awareness for the play around him. He also shows incredible versatility; he
    played as a 4-3 DE and DT and has even done some work as a 3-4 outside
    linebacker. The negatives are that he needs to learn more pass rush moves, and
    needs to get stronger in his lower body.

    The reason I think the Chargers can acquire a Cameron Jordan without
    moving up is that I believe there will be a run on QBs early in the draft; too many
    teams need it combined with no free agency. However the Chargers could end up in
    one of three situations: 1) the Chargers really want someone (Watt, Robert Quinn or
    even Jordan) and trade up. AJ has clearly shown a willingness to do it. 2) The

    Chargers reach to get a third tier defensive end (Wilkerson, Heyward) because
    there’s a run on defensive players. 3) There’s no one defensive left and the Chargers
    take either an outside linebacker or an offensive tackle (hopefully in that position
    the Chargers make a trade but there’s no guarantee).

    Other potential targets here: J.J. Watt, Ryan Kerrigan, Muhammad Wilkerson,
    Cam Heyward.

    With the 50th pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, the San Diego Chargers select Martez
    Wilson Linebacker from Illinois


    While Shaun Phillips has shown signs of greatness at outside linebacker over
    the last two years, there’s three problems. First, he played well over 900 snaps last
    year, and that’s way too many. Second, Phillips is very good on his own but is not as
    good as he was when he had Shawne Merriman opposite him. Third, Larry English
    has not shown he can be a top flight starting outside linebacker. One way or another
    the Chargers have to address this in the draft, they not only need someone to push
    English but someone who can take snaps for Phillips from time to time. Antwaan
    Barnes was a nice find but he’s strictly a pass rusher and not a multiple down OLB.
    While they could go with an OLB in the first round, especially if the best DEs are off
    the board, if Cameron Jordan fell to the Chargers that would make the decision very
    easy

    Wilson is a unique specimen of linebacker because he could fit anywhere at
    any position, especially in a 3-4. At 6’4 250 he has good size along with very good
    speed and agility. Unlike many potential OLBs though, Wilson has played outside
    before and already has a wide range of outstanding pass rushing moves with very
    good initial and closing speed. Wilson is also an effective run stopper with good
    instincts to locate the ball and to get away from blockers. He’s also an effective
    tackler, but not someone who will knock out other players. On the negative he
    doesn’t have great instincts in coverage, even though he has the speed to match up
    man to man effectively. He needs to learn to not look into the backfield as much and
    needs to control his aggression. He also has a little bit of an injury history (out all of
    2009 with neck injury) and a little off the field trouble (suspended once in 2008 and
    was involved in a fight in 2010 though he was coming to the aid of a teammate).
    Wilson is considered one of the best linebackers in the draft and might be gone by
    then. If so the Chargers would be well suited to draft someone like a Brooks Reed or
    a Jabaal Sheard. I think he will be available because while he’s played in a 4-3 he
    doesn’t fit that system as well as a 3-4 while at the same time not playing there or as
    a defensive end. Combine it with his issues and a very poor workout, and he could
    very well fall.

    Hopefully Larry English takes that next step and becomes a top flight OLB.
    If that’s the case, Wilson has great value to play both outside and inside – like
    Applewhite only much better. He can provide the break that Phillips need and even
    give the Chargers another rusher in a three outside linebacker package. If English
    continues on his path towards being a first round bust, Wilson is someone with the talent and ability to become that good pass rusher the Chargers desperately need
    outside.

    Other potential targets here: DE/OLB Jabaal Sheard, WR Jon Baldwin, OL
    Danny Watkins, WR Torrey Smith, CB Ras I Dowling, DE Christian Ballard, S Quinton
    Carter

    With the 61st pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, the San Diego Chargers select
    Orlando Franklin Offensive Tackle from Miami (FL)


    The Chargers have had a pro bowl caliber left tackle for five years in Marcus
    McNeil but have not had a great right tackle in longer. Jeromey Clary has never been
    one of my favorites though I have to admit he’s shown improvement over the last
    year. However Clary is just one of a large number of free agents the Chargers will
    have to deal with when/if there’s a free agency. As such the Chargers would be left
    with Brandon Dombrowski who showed last season he’s a better swing tackle then
    a starter.

    Franklin has primarily played guard for the hurricanes but has played tackle
    before. At 6’5 316 he’s a natural size for a right tackle with the right aggressive
    temperament for the job – he doesn’t just look to beat you, he looks to bury you.
    He has great strength and punch in both the running and passing game. He shows
    impressive power in driving players off the ball in the run game as well as showing
    the ability to shove edge and speed rushers outside of the running and passing
    lanes. He’s also been very effective against some of the best talent in this draft; he
    handled Da’Quan Bowers effectively and routinely dominated DT Marvin Austin.
    The negatives on him is he’s had an injury history especially on his left meniscus,
    that he has not played tackle as much as he’s played guard and that he has some lazy qualities (not that he’s lazy but has those qualities).

    This is a guy I’ve been high on for a while and think he’d be a perfect fit into
    the Chargers system. Combined with a healthy Louis Vasquez, Franklin would
    provide a ton of power and nastiness on a right side of the line that has been a
    problem for years. Finally the Chargers could feel comfortable running on the right
    side with two massive individuals clearing the lanes. He will need to be the focus of
    the offensive line coach to ensure that he does not get too complacent and keeps his
    weight in check, but he’s going into an experienced group of linemen who can
    mentor him effectively.

    Other potential picks: OT Marcus Cannon, CB Brandon Burton, WR Titus Young,
    ILB Quan Sturdivant, DB/RS Marcus Gilchrist, WR Jerrel Jernigan

    With the 82nd pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, the San Diego Chargers select
    Greg Little Wide Receiver North Carolina


    Prior to the 2010 season, few areas of the team were as good as their stable
    of wide receivers. After the 2010 season there’s more questions then answers.
    Vincent Jackson’s futile holdout cost him and the team money and the services of a
    great wide receiver. He’s franchised but there appears to be too much bad blood to

    see a long term relationship in San Diego. This was Malcolm Floyd’s time to shine
    but injuries slowed him down and he proved to be less effective without Vincent
    Jackson, in addition to him being a free agent. Patrick Crayton and Kelly Washington
    were very good pickups who fit the system but aren’t top-flight receivers. Legedu
    Naane and Buster Davis are out of here, the latter finally cut after showing what a
    bust he was, the former released after showing what an idiot he was. The Chargers
    must draft someone unless they want Patrick Crayton and Seyi Ajirotutu to start.
    Greg Little missed the entire 2010 season after being embroiled in a “scandal” where he, DT Marvin Austin and DE Robert Quinn got in trouble for receiving improper benefits from an agent. Little has been forthright and honest about what happened and it hasn’t seemed to hurt any of the players’ draft status.

    On the field, the 6’2 231lb wide out is a great fit for the kind of vertical offense the
    Chargers have. He has very good speed (though he’s a big strider) combined with a
    great knowledge of how to set up and confuse defenders. He shows outstanding
    hands and body control, a requirement for a QB who likes to throw jump balls to his
    receivers. Little also shows incredible passion and fire for the game on; he will go
    through the middle, grab the ball, get hit and pop back up. For a college player he’s
    also a good route runner but doesn’t run a large number of routes, so he will have to
    improve. In addition Little has a great deal of experience for the Tar Heels as a kick
    returner. On the negative he needs to control his emotions and needs to learn to pay
    attention to the little details – his drive and determination are not an issue but only
    his finer points.

    I see a lot of Vincent Jackson in Little; in fact his scouting reports all read very
    similar to those I red for Jackson back in 2005. Little could fit into the scheme
    beautifully learning from Charlie Joiner the finer points. He shows the drive and
    passion to be something special and would be a great compliment to Floyd and
    Jackson for the first year, assuming they cooperate/re-sign. At worse case Little
    would provide depth as a slot receiver and kick returner for a year.

    Other potential picks: ILB Casey Matthews, S Tyler Sash, NT/DE Kendrick Ellis,
    DE/OLB Dontay Moch, OT Marcus Gilbert, DE Jarvis Jenkins

    With the 89th pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, the San Diego Chargers select Mason
    Foster Inside Linebacker from Washington


    The Chargers picked a hell of a time to have three quarters of their inside
    linebackers go into free agency; 2011 has one of the worst classes of inside
    linebackers in years. Frankly if this was a normal year I’d do my best to find a
    replacement ILB in free agency, but since that’s not possible right now, the Chargers
    will have to find someone to pair with 2010’s third round pick, Donald Butler.
    While I like Casey Matthews, I think he’s going to be overdrafted because of his last
    name. So instead the Chargers will get the teammate of last year’s third rounder.
    Foster played outside linebacker for the Huskies but will fit inside of the
    Chargers 3-4. A three year starter with great instincts, motor and speed, he was a
    lone bright spot this year for Washington’s defense. He is a team leader, a strong tackler who can light someone up and make plays sideline to sideline. At 6’1 245lbs
    he doesn’t have the size you normally look for in a 3-4 nor is he great (though he’s
    far from bad) in coverage. He also needs to keep his aggression in check, he can be a little out of control.

    Foster looks and plays very similarly to Donald Butler, though Foster is a
    better run stopper while Butler was better in coverage. Both were outstanding
    players for a college team that didn’t have much. Foster can provide the toughness
    and strength that Butler doesn’t provide and with two intelligent backers, the
    Chargers won’t run into the problems they had after losing Cooper, where they lost
    the man who made the adjustments for the defense.

    Other potential picks: LB Akeem Dent, WR Vincent Brown, TE Virgil Green, DE
    Lawrence Guy, NT Jerell Powe

    With the 183rd pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, the San Diego Chargers select Mark
    Herzlich Linebacker from Boston College


    The Chargers select their third linebacker in one draft; while that would
    seem weird most years, as mentioned above, this is a year where the Chargers need
    to replenish their depth at this position. Remember, the Chargers have only two
    inside linebackers on their roster (Butler & Foster) with one guy who can play
    inside and outside (Applewhite). At 6’4 244 Herzlich is a physical specimen who
    was a dominating presence on the Eagles defense. He is a powerful physical
    presence with a great ability to take on and shed blockers on his way to making a
    play. He plays 100% at all times and never quits, has great instincts and is incredibly
    smart. Herzlich was the unquestioned leader of the Boston College team. In addition
    he is very skilled as a pass rusher and blitzer with a good mix of speed and moves.
    Unfortunately what knocks him down this far is that he missed the entire 2009
    season recovering from cancer and has a metal rod inserted into his left leg to help
    him recover. He came back in 2010 and showed signs he was returning as the
    dominant force he was in 2008. I could easily seen concerns about his health and
    recovery dropping him this far, and if he were here, Herzlich would be a great risk
    to take. If he checks out medically and can continue to recover, the guy could be a
    dominating presence at linebacker. And if he doesn’t, well, this far down he isn’t that
    big of a loss. Still the chance on greatness this far down is too good to pass up.

    With the 201st pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, the San Diego Chargers select
    Eric Hagg Free Safety from Nebraska


    The Chargers have had safety trouble for the longest time and now face
    trouble because of the uncertainty of that position. They drafted Darrell Stuckey last
    year believing he could be a starter at strong safety only to see him get injured and
    play in only one game. Eric Weddle had, arguably, his best year at free safety but is
    now a free agent and his return is uncertain. Coupled with the pending free agency
    of Paul Oliver but the acquisition of Bob Sanders and a back up free safety becomes
    a higher priority. Hagg is at his best as a centerfielder, the same position Weddle plays. He has good speed, very good body control and is a secure and willing, but not
    a powerful, tackler. Hagg can also play special teams, giving the team more
    flexibility. On the negative, Hagg doesn’t have great instincts so he can’t replace
    Weddle as someone who can call plays and adjustments in addition to the fact that
    he’s not a physical safety, so he’s a free safety only. At best case scenario Hagg can
    compete with Gregory, Quinton Teal and Paul Oliver for a backup safety job, at
    worse he can be pressed into service as a centerfielder if we lose Eric Weddle.
    Either way the depth at safety and special teams Hagg will give us makes him a
    valuable addition this late.

    With the 233rd pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, the San Diego Chargers select
    Schuylar Oordt Tight End from Northern Iowa


    For my last pick, I will pull a Bobby Beathard and selecting a player from a
    tiny school! Combine this with the Ray Chan special (selecting someone with an
    impossible to pronounce name), and this is a perfect selection for the Chargers here.
    At 6’5 ½ 261, basically the same size as Antonio Gates, Oordt converted from Wide
    Receiver and is a major project. He doesn’t run a lot of routes, he needs a lot of time
    in the weight room to build up his strength and learn how to block better. What
    Oordt does have is size, good hands and very good speed for a tight end (ran a 4.63).

    He has been very good at exploiting seems in a defense and can take advantage of
    teams napping, a very useful skill in a vertical offense. I basically see him and think
    with two or three years he could be a good tight end similar to Antonio Gates, and
    around the same time that Gates’ amazing career would be winding down. He needs
    a lot of work but this deep in the draft he definitely fills a need for a project who can
    learn from Gates and, potentially, Randy McMichael.

    Hey! Why didn’t you pick a:

    Third running back: because the Chargers don’t necessarily need one. The Chargers
    have said they want to give Tolbert and Mathews more playing time and compared
    to the long list of immediate needs the Chargers have, an extra running back is not
    one of them.

    Cornerback: I considered it thoroughly and if someone like a Ras-I-Dowling or a
    Brandon Burton fall to us in the second, I wouldn’t be surprised to see AJ snatch him
    up But this is again not as essential as some of the other needs; Jammer and Cason
    are very good and Dante Hughes showed some good ability at nickel.

    Nose Tackle: That’s the one part of the defensive line we don’t need now; Garay was
    outstanding and Thomas is coming along well. Not as high of a priority as defensive
    end in addition to this not being a great class for 3-4 nose tackles unless you want
    to see our first round pick go to Phil Taylor out of Baylor, which would be a wicked
    waste.

    Quarterback: I think there’s going to be a massive run on QBs in the initial part of
    the first round because of the need and panic of teams without one especially with
    no free agency. In addition, after the Jonathan Crompton experiment I get the feeling
    the Chargers will look for a veteran backup as they did after releasing Crompton
    early in 2010.

    Safety earlier: This is a very weak safety class and I’m not sure that reaching for a
    player would be the smartest thing to do. In addition the Chargers and Weddle have
    suggested they want to come to an agreement when free agency starts. In addition
    they had just drafted Stuckey last year and still think highly of him as well as signing
    Bob Sanders. This isn’t as big of a need in my opinion.
     

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