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Safety in backfield may constitute risk away from the field

Discussion in 'Chargers Fan Forum' started by boltmanbz, Apr 22, 2007.

  1. boltmanbz

    boltmanbz Well-Known Member

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    http://www.nctimes.com/articles/2007/04/20/sports/professional/chargers/21_41_124_19_07.txt
    Safety in backfield may constitute risk away from the field

    By: MIKE SULLIVAN - Staff Writer

    SAN DIEGO -- At some point in the upcoming NFL draft, you can count on the Chargers doing the Safety Dance. And hoping the pick turns out to be a big hit.

    After Terrence Kiel's repeated off-the-field issues registered a sour tune, the team parted ways with its starting strong safety, and there's a strong feeling that the Chargers will target a safety in either the first or second rounds of the April 28-29 draft.

    The good news is there are four safeties considered first-round material with the possibility of one or two still being available when the Chargers pick at No. 30.


    Top safety prospect LaRon Landry of LSU will be long gone by the time the Chargers get on the clock. Landry is being billed as a possible superstar who will eventually join Pittsburgh's Troy Polamalu, Baltimore's Ed Reed and Philadelphia's Brian Dawkins among the league's premier safeties.

    Florida's Reggie Nelson also figures to be out of reach unless the Chargers were to trade up into the middle of the first round. Nelson was a key player on the Gators' national championship team.

    Two safeties who could still be hanging around when the Chargers pick are Brandon Meriweather of Miami and Michael Griffin of Texas.

    Meriweather's talents rank behind only Landry among safeties, but there are concerns about his character.

    He was involved in a shooting incident last summer and then was caught on tape stomping several Florida International players during a well-publicized brawl last season.

    In the shooting incident, Miami safety Willie Cooper was shot outside an off-campus house he shared with Meriweather by somebody in a car. Meriweather, according to police accounts, then fired three shots at the shooter.

    Could the shooting incident affect Meriweather's status in terms of interest from the Chargers? General manager A.J. Smith isn't discussing specific players leading up to the draft, but the incident will certainly be scrutinized closely by the team.

    The Chargers had several runs-ins with the law last season, and Smith expressed embarrassment over the situation and took action by releasing Kiel and linebacker Steve Foley, two players who were involved in multiple incidents.

    Smith recently discussed what type of due diligence the club does on draft prospects with shaky backgrounds.

    "We have a very extensive background check that I'm extremely comfortable with, and we also use the National Football League," Smith said. "I'm very comfortable with what we have."

    Of course, there's always the chance Meriweather will be picked before the Chargers select, rendering the situation a non-issue. Pro Football Weekly rates Meriweather as the 23rd best player in the draft.

    The chances are greater that Griffin will be on the board when the Chargers pick. Griffin combines good speed with hard-hitting ability and also could be an immediate contributor on special teams. Griffin blocked eight kicks during his Texas career.

    Of the safeties projected to go in the second round, Utah's do-it-all Eric Weddle is the best of the bunch.

    Weddle had 18 career interceptions while playing safety and cornerback in college. He also played on offense and special teams.

    Two other second-round possibilities are Oregon State's Sabby Pisticelli and Virginia Tech's Aaron Rouse.

    The Chargers drafted Antonio Cromartie in the first round of the 2006 draft, so it's highly unlikely they would opt for a cornerback again in the early rounds.

    Michigan's Leon Hall and Pittsburgh's Darrelle Revis are the top two cornerbacks available and both should be selected by the middle of the first round. Texas' Aaron Ross and Arkansas' Chris Houston also figure to be chosen before the opening round ends.

    Hall, a Vista High product, is a solid all-around player who had 12 career interceptions with the Wolverines. Hall rates a slight edge over Revis, who isn't as complete a prospect but has the potential to develop into a top-rate corner.

    Ross isn't ready to step in and start for an NFL team despite winning the Jim Thorpe Award as the nation's top defensive back. But he has immediate value as a returner -- he returned three punts for scores during his Texas career.

    Houston's high ranking also is based more on potential than production. At 5-foot-10, there's concern how he'll match up against taller receivers.

    Eric Wright of Nevada-Las Vegas is an athletic cover corner who intrigues some teams with his skills but concerns others because of some off-the-field troubles he had at USC, where he was suspended before transferring to UNLV.

    One corner with impeccable college credentials is California's Daymeion Hughes, who intercepted eight passes and was the Pac-10 defensive player of the year as a senior. However, a slow 40-yard dash time will likely relegate Hughes to no higher than the third round.

    -- Contact staff writer Mike Sullivan at (760) 739-6645 or msullivan@nctimes.com.

    Who they have

    S Marlon McCree

    S Clinton Hart

    S Bhawoh Jue

    CB Quentin Jammer

    CB Drayton Florence

    CB Antonio Cromartie

    CB Steve Gregory

    CB Cletis Gordon

    Who's available

    S LaRon Landry, Louisiana State 1

    S Reggie Nelson, Florida 1

    S Brandon Meriweather, Miami 1

    S Michael Griffin, Texas 1

    S Eric Weddle, Utah 2

    CB Leon Hall, Michigan 1

    CB Darrelle Revis, Pittsburgh 1

    CB Aaron Ross, Texas 1

    CB Chris Houston, Arkansas 1

    CB Eric Wright, UNLV 2

    (4 footballs)

    Lot of good talent available early in the draft and there also appears to be an abundance of mid-round prospects who could develop into serviceable players. Four corners will likely go in the first round and there's a chance that four safeties could as well.
     
  2. Ride The Lightning

    Ride The Lightning Join the Dark Side, we have cookies.

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    I'd like to see Weddle and/or Griffin on the team.
     
  3. Ride The Lightning

    Ride The Lightning Join the Dark Side, we have cookies.

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    Oh man, I hope not. No more troublemakers.

    :no:
     
  4. boltmanbz

    boltmanbz Well-Known Member

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    what player doesnt make a mistake in college, even LT did
     
  5. Buck Melanoma

    Buck Melanoma Guest

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    Enlighten me, please. What did LT do? :icon_huh:
     
  6. Ride The Lightning

    Ride The Lightning Join the Dark Side, we have cookies.

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    weed
     
  7. PhillyChargerFan

    PhillyChargerFan Well-Known Member

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    I'm really hoping for Grubbs or Blalock :yes:
     
  8. Bergo23

    Bergo23 BoltTalker

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    I think Merriweather and Weddle are the perfect kind of cover safeties that will work best with McCree to elevate this D to the next level.....if both are available at #30, its hard to see AJ passing on Weddle's production & smarts over Merriweather's character concerns, especially since it would be a PR hit to replace an off the field distraction with another one.
     
  9. AnteaterCharger

    AnteaterCharger Calibrating Bolttalk, Podcast by Podcast Staff Member Super Moderator Podcaster

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    Merriweather could actually fall to us in hte second round which would be a real coup
     
  10. Electric Chair

    Electric Chair Well-Known Member

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    Just say no to players with off the field problems.

    I am ok with weed offenses. Guns... NO.
     

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