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Chargers Team Report - 05/02/12

Discussion in 'Latest Chargers News & Headlines' started by ChargerRay, May 2, 2012.

  1. ChargerRay

    ChargerRay Producer/Host of BoltTalk Staff Member Super Moderator Podcaster

    Jun 20, 2005
    Source: USA Today

    April is often called the liars month in the NFL, as so much disinformation is dispersed that it can make one head's swim.

    But Chargers general manager A. J. Smith, facing a sink-or-swim season in regard to his job security, was true to his word.

    After being active in free agency to shore up holes on offense, the Chargers turned to defense during the draft.

    Outside linebacker Melvin Ingram was the biggest catch, a pass-rusher from South Carolina who'll give the team's coaches a versatile player to tinker with.

    But on the heels of Ingram came defensive tackle Kendall Reyes from Connecticut and strong safety Brandon Taylor by way of LSU.

    Reyes will likely be slid outside in the Chargers' 3-4 setup, and Taylor could battle newcomer Atari Bigby for a starting job.

    The team's final four picks were offensive players — two linemen - as it was clear the Chargers were using this draft to get better on defense.


    Outside linebacker Melvin Ingram: With the NFL's worst third-down defense last season, it was imperative the team improve on passing downs. With Ingram, they got their man and just maybe he supplies a jolt to the Bolts' pass rush. With 21.5 sacks in his last two seasons at South Carolina, Ingram could help resurrect the team's ability to get after quarterbacks.


    Strong safety Brandon Taylor: In Taylor, the Chargers get a hard-hitting, no-nonsense player from the SEC. Taylor played corner his first two seasons, so he needs how to cover.

    A closer look at the Chargers' picks:

    Round 1/18 - Melvin Ingram, OLB, 6-1, 195, South Carolina

    Eager to find someone to disrupt opposing quarterbacks, the Chargers were ecstatic to get their mitts on Ingram after he tumbled down the board. Ingram has the versatility that allows him to line up in various spots, although the Chargers are eyeing him as a situational pass-rusher, at least in the early stages of next year. He will be given every chance to see the field quickly.

    Round 2/49 - Kendall Reyes, DE, 6-4, 295, Connecticut

    Reyes, in the Chargers' 3-4, is headed toward defensive end. With the team unsure about Luis Castillo's return from a leg injury and the inexperience of Vaughn Martin, Reyes could hit the field sooner than later.

    Round 3/73 - Brandon Taylor, DB, 6-0, 195 LSU

    The team didn't address this spot in free agency or in the first two rounds. So they traded up five spots to get Taylor, a key part of the Tigers' stingy defense.

    Round 4/110 - Ladarius Green, TE, 6-6, 238, Louisiana-Lafayette

    Antonio Gates has some tire wear remaining, but he's not getting younger and has been slowed by injuries. In Green, the Chargers might have Gates' eventual replacement

    Round 5/149 - Johnnie Troutman, G, 6-4, 325, Penn State

    Looking for depth, and maybe more, the Chargers tabbed this sturdy man from the Nittany Lions.

    Round 7/226 - David Monk, C, 6-1, 298, Michigan

    Was named the 2011 Rimington Trophy winner as the nation's best center. Monk was a four-year starter, although it remains to be seen if his size translates into the NFL.

    Round 7/250 - Edwin Baker, RB, 5-8, 204, Michigan State

    The team's final pick went for depth, as Baker could be in line to back up Ryan Mathews.

    —The Chargers say it every year, but maybe this year they really mean it: they got the player they wanted in the draft's first round.

    Melvin Ingram, the University of South Carolina standout, was selected No. 18 by the Chargers on Thursday. Eager to fix a third-down defense which was the NFL's worst last year, the team turned to Ingram to cleanse that blemish.

    "That was the key for us so obviously you can talk about a lot of different areas, a lot of different things," Turner said. "But to me we have improved a great deal as a football team through free agency and improved today by adding a player the caliber of Melvin."

    Ingram moved around at South Carolina, playing along every defensive level, save the secondary. But it's on the edge where he will line up most in the in the Chargers' 3-4, asked to supply a push to the pocket.

    "This was the right pick for us," Turner said.

    The Chargers said they were surprised Ingram was at No. 18, and they might not be fibbing. It was believed the rush on those getting after quarterbacks would come earlier, but with a tsunami of offensive players being drafted, it came later than expected.

    That worked in the Chargers favor, as they dedicated most of their earlier offseason work to shoring up the offense. So it was clear they wanted to aid a defense which fell on hard times, and they could hardly contain their glee that Ingram was there at their spot.

    "That was the great thing for us because in all the mocks we saw, the things we did in our work outs, that Melvin would be gone a lot earlier," said Jimmy Raye, the team's director of pro personnel. "We were excited when he came down the board."

    Raye said the Chargers toyed with trading up, but it wasn't required the way the draft was unfolding.

    "We always are considering everything," he said. "We thought about going up, of course, but we decided to stay where we were. We had a cluster of players we felt good about and when he was there, we felt good about it."

    That good feeling could be extended if Ingram pans out. He left South Carolina with 21.5 sacks, the fourth-most in school history. His 10 sacks last year tied the team's single-season mark.

    "My No. 1 goal is to come in and work hard and make an impact as soon as possible," Ingram said.

    He added 15 tackles for losses last year, and the Chargers are all eyes about that. But when seeing their depth chart, there seems to be an overload of outside linebackers: Larry English, Antwan Barnes, and Shaun Phillips.

    And that's fine with Turner.

    "An impact player doesn't have to be on the field every down," Turner reminded.

    He's right. And the Chargers hope they got right on Thursday, making a move that will return them to the playoffs for the first time in three seasons.


    —OLB Melvin Ingram grew up on the other side of the tracks, which gave him appreciation for what life offers, good and bad. "Coming from a tough neighborhood, nothing was easy," Ingram said. "I had one parent growing up and was less fortunate than some of the other kids, but I never felt sorry for myself. I felt like God put me in a difficult situation because he wanted me to learn something. He wanted me to grow and he wanted me to define the man I am today through hard work." He still answers reporters and new acquaintances with "yes ma'am' and "yes sir", "My mother wouldn't have it any other way," Ingram said.

    —Staying true to his wheeler-dealer reputation on draft days, general manager A.J. Smith traded up in the third round to secure strong safety Brandon Taylor. To move up five spots, Smith relinquished his third-round pick and a sixth-rounder to get Taylor. "We felt this was the next-best option for us," Smith said. "We added a strong player we believe in, at a spot that needs competition. We felt we could get him there and not much later, and we decided to be aggressive and go get him. We didn't want to fool around."

    —Smith said the team wanted to strike with defensive players early in the draft and it did just that. On the heels of getting Ingram, the team scored defensive tackle Kendall Reyes from Connecticut and Taylor from LSU. "We had a defensive game plan and an emphasis toward that side of the ball in this draft," Smith said. "That continued on the second day with a pair of players we believe can really help us."

    QUOTE TO NOTE: "Growing up, I wanted to be like Ray Lewis. He is passionate about this game and passionate about his job. He has an obsession for finding the football. I have that, too." - Chargers first-round pick OLB Melvin Ingram on what player he looked up to.





    —ILB Stephen Cooper tried to fight through an arm injury last season and eventually went to injured reserve. He won't be returning.

    —WR Patrick Crayton was a viable option, especially with injuries to Malcom Floyd. But the thinking is Vincent Brown has matured enough to take Crayton's role.

    —LB Na'il Diggs will likely be expendable, if as expected, Jonas Mouton is available after being hurt and missing his rookie season.

    —DL Tommie Harris exceeded the Chargers' expectations after being added in Week 3. Got a start during the year and gave the unit a little boost.

    —OT Tony Moll provided some needed depth during the offensive line's injury siege, but isn't a big priority for next season.

    —G Scott Mruczkowski fought through concussion problems last year but is expected to be OK for next season. The team likes his versatility and familiarity with the system.

    —FS Paul Oliver hasn't quite developed into the player the Chargers hoped for; destined for a backup role if brought back.

    —SS Bob Sanders didn't get past the second game last year and isn't expected to resume his career.



    —RB Curtis Brinkley showed some spark in his brief appearances and will likely be back. His stock might rise now that Mike Tolbert signed with Carolina, although they aren't the same kind of backs.


    —DE Luis Castillo: FA, had been released by Chargers; $1M/1 yr.

    —OL Brandyn Dombrowski: RFA tendered at $1.26M with no compensation); $1.26M/1 yr.

    —LT Jared Gaither: UFA; 4 yrs, $9M guaranteed.

    —DT Antonio Garay: UFA; 2 yrs, terms unknown.

    —WR Richard Goodman: ERFA; terms unknown.

    —C Nick Hardwick: Potential UFA; $13.5M/3 yrs, $5.25M guranteed.

    —FB Jacob Hester: UFA; 1 yr, terms unknown.

    —TE Randy McMichael: UFA; $2.7M/2 yrs.

    —TE Kory Sperry: Not tendered as RFA; 1 yr, terms unknown.

    —LS Mike Windt: ERFA; 1 yr, terms unknown.


    —S Atari Bigby: UFA Seahawks; $2.5M/2 yrs.

    —C/G Rex Hadnot: FA Cardinals; 1 yr, terms unknown.

    —T Mario Henderson: FA; 1 yr, terms unknown.

    —OLB Jarret Johnson: UFA Ravens; $19M/4 yrs, terms unknown.

    —FB Le'Ron McClain: UFA Chiefs; 3 yrs, terms unknown.

    —WR Robert Meachem: UFA Saints; $25.9M/4 yrs, $7.5M SB/$5M base guarantee 2013.

    —WR Roscoe Parrish: UFA Bills; 1 yr, terms unknown.

    —TE Dante Rosario: UFA Broncos; 1 yr, terms unknown.

    —WR Eddie Royal: UFA Broncos; $13.5M/3 yrs, $6M guaranteed.

    —WR Micheal Spurlock: UFA Buccaneers; 1 yr, terms unknown.

    —QB Charlie Whitehurst: UFA Seahawks; $4M/2 yrs, $1M SB.

    —LB Demorrio Williams: FA Chiefs; 1 yr, terms unknown.


    —LB Everette Brown (released).

    —LG Kris Dielman (retired).

    —SS Steve Gregory: UFA Patriots; $8.5M/3 yrs, $3.35M guaranteed.

    —CB Dante Hughes (released).

    —WR Vincent Jackson: UFA Buccaneers; $55,555,555M/5 yrs, $26M guaranteed.

    —OT Marcus McNeill (released).

    —RB Mike Tolbert: UFA Panthers; $10M/4 yrs, $2M SB/$2.7M guaranteed.

    —LB Nate Triplett (released).

    —QB Billy Volek (released).

    —WR Bryan Walters (released).

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