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ACEE:How the Chargers might go with 27th pick in draft

Discussion in 'NFL Draft' started by boltmanbz, Apr 9, 2008.

  1. boltmanbz

    boltmanbz Well-Known Member

    Oct 16, 2006

    By Kevin Acee

    April 9, 2008
    Chargers General Manager A.J. Smith and his scouts will not convene for their two weeks of brainstorming until Monday.

    So it's somewhat amusing that so many mock drafts floating around cyberspace seem to have pinpointed who the Chargers will pick with the 27th selection of the NFL Draft on April 26. (Of course, that depends on which of the 18,000 mock drafts you would choose to believe.)

    But with the draft 2½ weeks away, Smith does have a general idea what he will do with that first pick.

    Smith, assistant GM Buddy Nix, coach Norv Turner, assistant coaches and scouts have been traveling the country attending private workouts. Prospective draftees have begun visiting Chargers Park. But don't read too much into any of that. The Chargers will invite in almost 30 players, some of whom they have no chance of drafting or no interest in drafting and some of whom they want to woo as potential undrafted free agents.

    Thing is, the Chargers are well-positioned to pull a surprise with their first pick. While they are somewhat at the mercy of the 26 teams that pick ahead of them, they have the luxury of actually taking the best available player because they do not need to draft a starter. They have all those in place.

    But they do have needs.

    They need a third cornerback and a backup running back, as well as a backup offensive tackle. Expect them to draft someone at each of these positions, perhaps starting with their first pick since they don't pick again until the end of the fifth round.

    Or with their first pick they could draft a project at defensive tackle. (Don't hold your breath.)

    So, while refusing just yet to participate in the mock draft mania, here is a look at the four directions the Chargers could go with that 27th pick.

    Why they would: Drayton Florence is gone, and Paul Oliver or Cletis Gordon might not be the guy to move into the third cornerback spot. Oliver could be moved to safety, and Gordon's considerable speed might not be enough to win him the job. The cornerback class is deep, too, so even if they were left with the fourth or fifth choice, it would be a good player.

    Why they wouldn't: They could determine Oliver and/or Gordon are good enough to go with. Oliver is definitely going to play anyway, but it is uncertain whether that is in the nickel or dime packages, or both.

    Possibilities: It's almost certain that Leodis McKelvin (Troy) and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (Tennessee State) will be gone. Michael Jenkins (South Florida) could be available and could be an excellent third corner. It's more likely that Antoine Cason (Arizona), who had 15 interceptions in his college career, will be available. Also, if Miami safety Kenny Phillips is on the board, the Chargers could take him with an eye toward grooming him to take over for Clinton Hart down the line.

    Why they would: The Chargers likely will move right tackle Jeromey Clary inside to guard when Mike Goff's contract is up after this season. Plus, they don't have anyone to be the backup right now.

    Why they wouldn't: What's available here might not justify a first-round pick.

    Possibilities: The big names – Jake Long (Michigan), Ryan Clady (Boise State) and Jeff Otah (Pittsburgh) – will be gone by the time the Chargers pick. If Chris Williams (Vanderbilt) is there, he is too similar to Marcus McNeill to be ignored. The Chargers also might take Gosder Cherilus (Boston College), a natural right tackle, if he's available.

    Why they would: Darren Sproles has earned playing time but is not built to be a long-term No. 2 or LaDainian Tomlinson's successor. There will be a good back available at No. 27.

    Why they wouldn't: There also will be a good back available at No. 160, the Chargers' next pick. Or they might be able to swing a deal to grab a second-or third-round pick they could use on a running back.

    Possibilities: Jonathan Stewart (Oregon) is a lot like the departed Michael Turner, only perhaps better. Felix Jones (Arkansas) was not a star in college only because he was Darren McFadden's teammate. Stewart will probably be gone; Jones could be a reach.

    Why they would: Jamal Williams will not play forever.

    Why they wouldn't: They are probably not going to get the next Jamal Williams with the 27th pick in this draft. And Williams has some time left in those knees.

    Possibilities: Kentwan Balmer (North Carolina) is fast, can get bigger and would be hard to pass up if he were available, which he probably won't be.

    33 total comments

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