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Inside Slant - 04/30/07

Discussion in 'Latest Chargers News & Headlines' started by robdog, Apr 30, 2007.

  1. robdog

    robdog Code Monkey Staff Member Administrator

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    Source: <a href="http://www.usatoday.com/sports/football/nfl/chargers/home.htm" target="_blank">USA Today</a>

    <img src="http://www.nctimes.com/content/articles/2007/04/30/sports/professional/chargers/42907212325.jpg" title="New Chargers draft picks, No. 84 Craig Davis (W) No. 32 Eric Weddle (S) and No. 53 Anthony Waters." alt="New Chargers draft picks, No. 84 Craig Davis (W) No. 32 Eric Weddle (S) and No. 53 Anthony Waters." height="195" width="293" />

    DRAFT REVIEW
    <p class="inside-copy"> The Chargers targeted their three top needs in the draft, and weren't shy about filling them: wide receiver, safety and inside linebacker.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> With wide receiver Craig Davis, their first pick at No. 30 overall, the Chargers can now trot out something other than a possession receiver. Davis, LSU's second-leading receiver last year, can scoot.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> "We're just absolutely thrilled," general manager A.J. Smith said. "We're adding a weapon to the offense, and he's also a punt returner. We got two for the price of one."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> New coach Norv Turner was salivating at the idea of utilizing Davis, who not only is quick and versatile, but is stout running with the ball after the reception.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> "The thing we felt about Craig is he is a complete receiver," Turner said. "People start talking about 'well, if you draft this guy, he'll be able to play in the slot and this guy can go outside.'</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> "When Craig gets in here and understands what we're doing and makes the adjustment that all college players have to make, he can be a guy that can play outside, can play in the slot, he can be a reverse runner, he can run routes off of movement."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> It took a big movement to sprint up the board in the second round when the Chargers tagged safety Eric Weddle. The Chargers leapfrogged 25 spots, giving the Bears four picks to secure the Utah star.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> Weddle did a little bit of everything: played both corners, safety, took snaps at running back and quarterback and returned punts.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> The Chargers see him competing for a starting job, as the team had but three safeties on the roster before the draft. But even if falling short of a starting role, the team is confident he can contribute quickly on special teams.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> "There's going to be great competition for positions and playing time," Turner said, anticipating Weddle pushing returning safeties Clinton Hart and Bhawoh Jue to start opposite Marlon McCree. "(Weddle) is a guy because of his intangibles and because of the maturity level and intelligence that he's certainly capable of competing for (a starting) position."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> The Chargers have two starters not coming back - inside linebackers Donnie Edwards and Randall Godfrey. That's why taking Clemson's Anthony Waters made sense in round three.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> Waters, though, must prove his knee is sound - he said it is at 95 percent - after missing all but last season's opener with a torn ACL.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">&nbsp;</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> BEST PICK: WR Craig Davis - it's easy to say the top selection is the best pick, but this fits the Chargers well because of what Davis can potentially do - stretch a defense. Without a legitimate home run threat, defenses could stack the line to deal with LaDainian Tomlinson and Antonio Gates - not that they had much success. But with Davis, those defenses will have to respect the deep threat more.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">&nbsp;</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> COULD SURPRISE: LB Anthony Waters - This Clemson product slipped because he blew out his ACL in last year's season opener. But if he can rebound and be the player he was before the injury, the Chargers might have stolen a force in the middle. The Chargers had a huge need here, and while Waters probably won't fill it next year, he could in the future.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">&nbsp;</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> A closer look at the Chargers' picks:</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">&nbsp;</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> Round 1/30 - Craig Davis, WR, 6-1, 207, LSU</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> There's not much the potent Chargers offense doesn't offer - save a speedy wide receiver. Davis fits the bill, although he had second-billing on the LSU wide out pecking order behind Dwayne Bowe. If Davis can stretch defenses like the Chargers hope, it opens the running game more for MVP LaDainian Tomlinson and the underneath routes for All-Pro TE Antonio Gates - that's scary.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">&nbsp;</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> Round 2/37 - Eric Weddle, S, 5-11, 200, Utah</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> GM A.J. Smith delivered four draft picks to the Bears to move up and snag Weddle. Smith loves his versatility, but is most keen on his play at safety. The Chargers had but three safeties on the roster before the draft, and were eager to address that shortcoming. Weddle will push to start opposite Marlon McCree, but there's little doubt he will contribute immediately on special teams.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">&nbsp;</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> Round 3/96 - Anthony Waters, ILB, 6-3, 245, Clemson</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> A bit of a flier here as Waters blew out his knee in the 2006 opener and skipped the season. But he says that knee is 95 percent, and that - along with impressive workouts - was enough for the Chargers. Smith talked of Waters' nasty streak and was confident he'll be ready for this season. The Chargers lost two starters at this position - Donnie Edwards and Randall Godfrey - over the offseason.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">&nbsp;</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> Round 4/129 - Scott Chandler, TE, 6-7, 257, Iowa</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> Chandler proved his stock by being a clutch third-down receiver for Iowa. But his real strength is blocking in the running game, which is what the Chargers are looking for - they don't need a pass-catcher with All-Pro Antonio Gates. But don't discount Chandler's hands as he is a converted wide receiver.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">&nbsp;</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> Round 5/172 - Legedu Naane, WR, 6-2, 225, Boise State</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> The Chargers, like they did with Weddle in the second round, drafted a versatile player here. Naane was once a quarterback before switching to wide receiver. He was an All-WAC pick as he led Boise State with 34 catches and six touchdowns. Naane will be thrown into the mix at receiver, where the Chargers are looking to upgrade one of the few positions on the offensive side where they are lacking.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">&nbsp;</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> Round 7/240 - Brandon Siler, ILB, 6-1, 241, Florida</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> Siler was bothered by a knee ailment last year and leaves college after his junior year. As a freshman, he was selected the top player in his class among SEC player in '04. That year, he had 77 tackles with two sacks. He is a project, but the Chargers are thin at the inside position so they will taker a flier here.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"><strong>NOTES, QUOTES</strong></p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-The Chargers weren't able to move backup RB Michael Turner during the draft, so it appears LaDainian Tomlinson's caddy returns for his last year with the Chargers. "I don't know where this goes now," GM A.J. Smith said. "We were looking for a package that was advantageous to us."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-Maybe new coach and offensive guru Norv Turner's presence had something to do with the Chargers taking their first wide receiver in the draft since snagging Anthony Miller in 1988. Someone asked Turner if he was allowed in the draft room - a shot at the acrimony between GM A.J. Smith and ex-coach Marty Schottenheimer. Turner didn't take the bait and just smiled.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">- Among the reasons the Chargers decided on WR Craig Davis: Neither of their opening-day wideouts last year had a touchdown reception in '06. And just one is back after the Chargers cut veteran Keenan McCardell in the offseason; Eric Parker will likely become the No. 3 wide out.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-For the Chargers' sake, they hope their latest No. 30 overall pick is more productive than the last player the team selected at that spot. In A.J. Smith's first selection as a general manager, he selected CB Sammy Davis, who was a bust. He was later traded to San Francisco, cut, and is now trying to latch on with Tampa Bay.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">- New S Eric Weddle will be right at home at Qualcomm Stadium. When playing against San Diego State last year for Utah, Weddle had four interceptions and scored three touchdowns in his past two visits. "I love it," Weddle said of the "Q". "I've had some good games there."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">- The Chargers' minicamp is planned for May 4-6.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"><strong>QUOTE TO NOTE:</strong> "We were not worried what we gave up; we're worried about what we got, which is a good football player that will help us win." - Assistant GM Buddy Nix on the Chargers sending four draft picks to the Bears to move up and draft S Eric Weddle.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"><strong>STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL</strong></p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> FRANCHISE PLAYER: None.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">TRANSITION PLAYER: None.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-LB Randall Godfrey could return, if he doesn't retire.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-OT Leander Jordan's time has likely come and gone.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-S Terrence Kiel became a free agent when team declined to buy back voidable '07 and '08 contract years.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: None.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENTS: None.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">PLAYERS RE-SIGNED</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-DT Ryon Bingham: ERFA; teams unknown.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-WR Greg Camarillo: ERFA; 1 yr, terms unknown.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-OG Kris Dielman: UFA; $39M/6 yrs, $18M guaranteed.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-WR Malcom Floyd: ERFA; terms unknown.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-LB Marques Harris: ERFA; 1 yr, terms unknown.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-OT Cory Lekkerkerker: ERFA; 1 yr, terms unknown.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-LB Shaun Phillips: Potential RFA; 6 yrs, terms unknown.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-LB Carlos Polk: UFA; 2 yrs, terms unknown.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-DE Derreck Robinson: ERFA; terms unknown.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-RB Michael Turner: RFA; $2.35M/1 yr.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-C Cory Withrow: UFA: 3 yrs, terms unknown.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">PLAYERS ACQUIRED: None.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">PLAYERS LOST</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-LB Donnie Edwards: UFA Chiefs; $13.5M/3 yrs, $7.5M SB.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-LB Steve Foley (released).</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-WR Az-Zahir Hakim: UFA Dolphins; terms unknown.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-WR Darrell Jackson (traded 49ers).</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-TE Ryan Krause: Not tendered as RFA/Browns; terms unknown.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-WR Keenan McCardell (released).</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-TE Aaron Shea (released).</p>
     

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