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Chargers Fail because AJ Smith Failed

Discussion in 'Chargers Fan Forum' started by DenverBolt67, Nov 8, 2011.

  1. DenverBolt67

    DenverBolt67 BoltTalker

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    Earlier in the day our E.I.C. Ernie Padaon posted a blog reporting that after Antoine Cason’s horrific game against the Jets in which Plaxico Burress made Cason his prison yard bitch, Cason could be benched in favor of Marcus Gilchrist as early as this week. I started to comment, but my response got so lengthy I thought it deserved its own post.
    Charger fans wondering why the Chargers are no longer an “elite team” and look back at the teams we had from ’06-’08 and think, “What the hell happened?” should look no further than GM AJ Smith.
    If Cason got benched he would be considered yet another 1st round bust for Smith. Notable players Smith passed up for Cason include: Kenny Phillips, Brandon Flowers (13 career INT), Jordy Nelson, Matt Forte, DeSean Jackson, and Ray Rice. Smith supporters will argue that hindsight is 20/20 but the so called “tough guy” and the “NFL’s John Wayne” not only has failed to add ammo to the Chargers who at one point were loaded, but over these past five years he’s been shooting blanks.
    Let’s look at the notable players drafted from 2004-2006:
    2004: Philip Rivers (acquired in trade; 1st Rd), Nick Hardwick (3rd Rd), Shawn Phillips (4th Rd)
    2005: Shawne Merriman (1st Rd), Luis Castillo (1st Rd), Vincent Jackson (2nd Rd), Darren Sproles (4th Rd)
    2006: Antonio Cromartie (1st Rd), Marcus McNeil (2nd Rd), Jeromey Clary (6th Rd)
    In those three years Smith drafted 9 players who became regular starters and 8 players who made at least 1 Pro Bowl.
    Now let’s compare that to the players drafted in the past 5 years:
    2007: Buster Davis (1st Rd), Eric Weddle, (2nd Rd)
    2008: Antoine Cason (1st Rd), Jacob Hester (3rd Rd)
    2009: Larry English (1st Rd), Louis Vasquez (3rd Rd)
    2010: Ryan Matthews (1st Rd), Donald Butler (3rd Rd)
    2011: Corey Liuget (1st Rd), Marcus Gilchrist (2nd Rd)
    The difference in the level of talent in the ’04-‘06 draft classes compared to the draft classes the subsequent three seasons is astonishing. Smith whiffed on three straight first round draft picks in Davis, Cason and English and came out with only one slightly above average starter in Weddle, and two subpar starters in Hester (if you even call him a starter) and Louis Vasquez (let’s not forget he almost lost his starting job to Tyronne Green this summer). Even if you assume Matthews will eventually be a franchise back and Liuget will be a solid starter, the past five years, the Chargers have drafted only 7 starters (assuming Gilchrist replaces Cason) andzero Pro Bowlers.
    Look at the Chargers biggest holes today:
    1. Offensive playmakers that compliment Rivers, Jackson, and Gates
    2. Inability to consistently pressure the passer
    3. Suspect secondary that is devoid of playmakers
    Now, look at the players the Chargers passed up in the ’07-’09 drafts to pick Davis, Cason and English:
    2007: Sydney Rice, LaMarr Woodley, David Harris
    2008: (Again) Kenny Phillips, Brandon Flowers, Jordy Nelson, Matt Forte, DeSean Jackson, Ray Rice
    2009: (This is going to hurt) Jeremy Maclin, Percy Harvin, Clay Matthews, Hakeem Nicks, Kenny Britt, Louis Delmas, LeSean McCoy
    I’m not saying AJ Smith should be perfect, but think how the dominoes could have fallen had the Chargers nailed one of those drafts:
    • If the Chargers would have drafted LaMarr Woodley in ’07 they wouldn’t have had to reach for English and maybe at that point they add to the WR corps with a playmaker like Maclin, Harvin, Nicks or Britt. Or maybe they could have drafted Louis Delmas, a safety who can actually tackle.
    • Had the Chargers drafted Forte or Rice instead of Cason they could have traded up in 2010 to draft Earl Thomas, Jason Piere-Paul or Dez Bryant instead of Ryan Matthews.
    • And had the Chargers nailed the 2007 to 2009 drafts like they nailed 2004 to 2006 – Woodley, DeSean Jackson and Clay Matthews – we wouldn’t be having this conversation.
    I could go on and on, but the point is AJ Smith lost his mojo for three years and it has crippled this franchise. In addition to this his failed 1st rounders, Smith kept compounding his mistakes by trading multiple 2nd round picks to move up and draft Weddle and Hester. This, combined with their (cheap ***) strategy of not signing any high-profile (i.e. expensive) free agents is what brings us to today’s team.
    The 2011 San Diego Chargers are boring.
    The 2011 San Diego Chargers have no identity.
    The 2011 San Diego Chargers are failures today because our GM has failed us for the past five years.
     
  2. Dublin Bolt

    Dublin Bolt BoltTalker

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    Shoulda woulda coulda. We all know AJ has missed badly the last few years but looking back and dreaming what if is a waste of time. Having said that I will never understand what he saw in Hester to make him trade up. Incredible move. The guy is nothing more than a serviceable special teams player with little or no athletic ability (witness the drops at the weekend).
     
  3. Lancer 1

    Lancer 1 Eternal Optimist

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    When A.J. Smith traded up to get Jacob Hester, (team captain & starting tailback for the National Champion LSU Tigers) it was before he knew that Mike Tolbert would not only go undrafted, but would choose to sign with us and would be so productive. Had any of that not happened, Hester would’ve been playing a much bigger role on our team for the past few seasons.

    Since AJ has been the Chargers General Manager, this team has been built to compete for a championship every season. We haven’t drafted in the top 10 of the 1st round since Smith’s very first draft as GM, following the sudden death of his predecessor. The highest we’ve drafted since then was pick #11, but that pick was acquired from the Giants in the Eli for Rivers trade. We selected Ryan Mathews with the 12th pick last year, but had to trade up some 16 spots to do so. Add in the production that we’ve gotten from the undrafted free agents that AJ has bought in immediately after the draft has been completed, and the number of them who have gone on to be quality NFL starters and some even Pro Bowlers, and those numbers are unmatched by any other GM.
     
  4. chargerlipz

    chargerlipz Leading the league in nose hairs.

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    Season isn't over yet, nitz.
     
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  5. scratchnz

    scratchnz BoltTalker

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    He may have kept us competitive but he never makes the big play for a quality free agent or top 10 draft pick that gives so many more teams that extra edge that the Chargers alwys seem to lack.
     
  6. Lancer 1

    Lancer 1 Eternal Optimist

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    You mean like Steve Foley, Lorenzo Neal, Randall Godfrey, Chris Chambers, Kevin Burnett, Patrick Crayton, Bob Sanders, Takeo Spikes or trading up 16 spots in the 1st round to grab Ryan Mathews?
     
  7. FCBolt

    FCBolt Well-Known Member

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    How many years did you just cite and with 2 players that didn't amount to much for us?
    Please, no more 'Chandler didn't do well for us, but look how he's doing in Buffalo' logic.

    I'd take issue with the trading up part of the argument, cause it hasn't always worked out, but I'm not convinced AJ would have done much with the picks he gave up anyway...
     
  8. Lancer 1

    Lancer 1 Eternal Optimist

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    Which 2 players mentioned have failed to make any impact for us?
    You seem to have a problem with undeniable truth. When we drafted Scott Chandler, we still had an explosive, pre-injury Antonio Gates so tight end was not a position of dire need for us, nor is it now. Even what Antonio can’t go, Randy McMichael has done a respectable job. BTW, Scott is doing a bang up job in Buffalo.
    Off the top of my head, I can quickly name 3 starters on our current team that trading up has netted for us…
     
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  9. chargerlipz

    chargerlipz Leading the league in nose hairs.

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    Semper Fi
     
  10. 18gramblingcharlie

    18gramblingcharlie Bitter San Diego sports fan

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    A waste of time?? Isn't that what these forums are for? It's real easy to be reminded of past draft whiffs when your team is struggling. The 'what if' game is not a new phenomenon. I've noted late round and free agent signings as past successes but when "the Chargers are on the clock" when we are transfixed to the TV or radio the choices are less than satisfactory. I'm sorry but the stench of Buster Davis, Larry English, etc. are not easy to wash off.
     
  11. FCBolt

    FCBolt Well-Known Member

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    Sanders and Crayton.

    Trading up always nets something, whether it's something positive worth the move up is the question. Are you going to use Hester as an example of a good trade up?

    Also, can you clarify your logic on Chandler etc? Are you saying that since AJ drafted guys like Chandler and Welker, it's all positive for the GM and all negative on the coaches for dumping them? Not putting words in your mouth, just trying to understand where you're coming from.
     
  12. scratchnz

    scratchnz BoltTalker

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    None of those names are of the quality I speak of! Bob Sanders is but we didn't sign the Bob Sanders of 3-4 years ago did we? Lorenzo Neal is the best of these names. All of those other names were serviceable players that at times played above their ability. The jury is still out on Takeo Spikes
     

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