CHARGERS: Pair of second-round picks give Chargers options to address needs BY SCOTT BAIR - firstname.lastname@example.org | Posted: Sunday, April 24, 2011 11:35 pm SAN DIEGO -- A.J. Smith believes that first-round talent frequently falls into the second. The NFL draft often features runs on positions, leaving elite players available during the draft's second lap around the league. The Chargers' general manager demonstrated that theory often when he had second-round picks to make. Smith's three most-recent selections in the second round of the NFL draft -- tackle Marcus McNeill, receiver Vincent Jackson and safety Eric Weddle -- are all entrenched as starters and have all had a heavy hand in the Chargers' recent run of success. "Are you saying it's better than (my reviews) in the first round?" Smith quipped, discussing his second-round successes. That's a study for another story, but it does illustrate the draft's importance beyond the hype surrounding the first round. It also stands to question why the Chargers have traded away every second-round pick since 2007. "Second rounders have been used to move, and normally they're used to move up," Smith said. "It's up to others to evaluate if the move was valuable. If I feel it's necessary, we have no problem going on the attack to secure a quality player. "There's always a price to pay, a sacrifice to be made. We've given up second-round picks in recent seasons, but we're getting something in return." The Chargers got receiver Chris Chambers in 2007 in exchange for their 2008 second-round pick. Fullback Jacob Hester was acquired by dangling the 2009 second-round pick in front of New England in the third-round of the 2008 draft. The 2010 second rounder was part of a package to move up and select running back Ryan Mathews in the first round of last year's draft. This year, however, the Chargers have a pair of second-round picks. They own the Nos. 50 and 61 overall picks -- the latter was acquired in the trade that sent Antonio Cromartie to the New York Jets following the 2009 season. Combined with their first-round selection (No. 18 overall), the picks offer a team in need of several impact players a wealth of opportunities to land them. With pressing needs at defensive end, outside linebacker, inside linebacker and receiver and desires to increase depth at offensive tackle and safety, the Chargers have two options for their picks. They can make them in search of instant-impact players or, given Smith's recent penchant for trades, use them as leverage to move up in the draft. "There are opportunities out there in this draft to make an impact in the second round if we stand pat," Smith said. "I understand the marquee part of this process is the first round, and the second round falls right behind that. "When you have multiple selections like we do, you have a chance to look pretty good or doubly good. I either have two chances to get it right or two chances to mess up. It depends upon your perspective." Smith made reference to last year's draft, in which New England had three second-round selections and used them all on players who made an impact in their rookie season. "A lot of people expected (the Patriots) to wheel and deal with such a high volume, but (they) took each selection and added an important player each time," Smith said. "I think we know the end results for them." Smith wouldn't reveal his master plan for the Chargers' second-round picks other than to say he enjoys having options. "There are a lot of good players in that area, but it's about making the right choices," Smith said. "If you do that and those players stay healthy, they make you look really, really good and really smart. If that doesn't happen or the trades you make aren't deemed worthwhile, then the opposite happens. "I don't worry much about that. I do know that we're going to use our second-round selections to help our football team in the best possible way." ------------------------------------> While Chargers' general manager A.J. Smith has used his second-round draft pick as trade bait recently, his last three second-round selections have developed into franchise cornerstones. Barring a trade, the Chargers will pick in the second round twice this week, their first picks in that round since 2007. Here's a look at the second-round draft picks the Chargers have made under Smith's watch: 2007: FS Eric Weddle -- Three-year starter at free safety has been productive throughout his career. Chargers hope to sign him to a long-term deal. 2006: LT Marcus McNeill -- Pro Bowler ranks among the NFL's elite left tackles. The five-year starter was rewarded with a five-year contract extension in 2010. 2005: WR Vincent Jackson -- Despite contract disputes and legal troubles, Jackson has emerged as an elite receiver, surpassing 1,000 receiving yards in 2008 and '09, his last two full seasons. 2004: DE Igor Olshansky -- Started 70 games over five seasons for the Chargers, but wore out his welcome and now plays for Dallas. 2003: CB Drayton Florence, S Terrence Kiel -- Florence started 43 games and had 10 interceptions for the Chargers before moving on to Jacksonville and now Buffalo. Kiel started 51 games in four seasons, but legal troubles dogged him. He died in a single-car collision in 2008.