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Targets for the Chargers Draft

Discussion in 'Latest Chargers News & Headlines' started by robdog, Apr 12, 2006.

  1. robdog

    robdog Code Monkey Staff Member Administrator

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    Source: <a target="_blank" href="http://www.nfldraftblitz.com/ChargersColumn.htm">NFL Draft Blitz</a>

    <img width="156" height="191" id="image2167" alt="LT get's drafted" src="http://bolttalk.com/wp-content/uploads/2006/04/LTdraft.gif" />
    By Loren S. Casuto

    The NFL Draft is coming up and with the recent pro workouts, a larger draft board for the Chargers in the first, second and third rounds, as well as interesting pick-ups in Day 2 is in order. First of all, what are the Chargers looking for and in what order are their needs?
    <ol>
    <li>Offensive Tackle: It can not be said enough that the Chargers need to find a future left tackle and, in all likeliness, someone who can play right tackle. Roman Oben is in his mid 30s and is coming off of a major injury. Shane Olivea has played well at right tackle but with his size, he would be better off at right guard. Leander Jordan is not an acceptable backup as he can not pass block well and tires late in the game. OT Cory Lekkerkerker is still very raw and it's debatable whether he can become an effective tackle. With a new quarterback at the helm, Rivers will need added time to make the correct read and throw the ball. And with the best running back in football, you need someone to open good sized holes for him.</li>
    <li>Cornerback: Safety is not an issue right now with the re-signing of Clinton Hart and the acquisition of Marlon Mcree. The cornerback position has been a disaster for the last three years; Quentin Jammer, the fifth overall pick in 2002, has improved over the last few years but is not the shut down corner he was expected to be. Sammy Davis, the Chargers first round selection in 2003, has been atrocious whenever he's been in the lineup, getting beat for short, intermediate and long plays over and over again. The Chargers second round selection in 2003, Drayton Florence, has flashed ability but is very inconsistent and has been injured numerous times. With Jamar Fletcher leaving in free agency the Chargers, at the bare minimum, need a dime back, and at maximum, need to replace most of the secondary.</li>
    <li>Nose Tackle: The Chargers have an all pro NT in Jamal Williams. Williams is a strong load at 349lbs who can move the pile and draw double teams constantly. However, Jamal is only one man and even with two healthy years under his belt, he does have an injury history. A backup nose tackle is of great importance in order to keep Jamal fresh late in the game. Currently Defensive Ends Jacque Cesaire and Luis Castillo rotate at NT and both need to stay at DE.</li>
    <li>Wide Receiver: This is probably the most publicized need of the Chargers, but definitely not their priority. Keenan McCardell and Eric Parker make for an effective starting pair with Vincent Jackson (the Chargers 2nd rounder in 2005) and Kassim Osgood in reserve. None of these receivers are deep threats nor are the typical #1 receiver, but then again with Antonio Gates, does a team really need one? The Chargers should consider finding a deep threat to eventually replace Keenan McCardell but that's an unlikely proposition in this draft.</li>
    <li>Offensive Guard: Kris Dielman is raw but the Chargers like his attitude and drive. Mike Goff is a good finesse blocker but for a RG he has little push. The Chargers lost backup G Bob Hallen and G Wes Sims is unproven. This problem could be partially fixed by moving Shane Olivea to RG and Mike Goff to the bench, but it quantifies the offensive tackle issue. At the least, more depth is needed.</li>
    </ol>
    With that in mind, this is who the Charger front office, as well as fans, should be looking at for each round and day two (in no particular order).

    1st Round Draft Board
    <ol>
    <li>Winston Justice OT USC: This is a dream pick; Justice should be taken earlier then #19 especially in light of his recent pro day. He's got great feet, is a solid pass and run blocker and has a lot of upside and potential. Justice could step in now at RT and take over eventually at LT. AJ Smith has to decide if his history and character are equal to his talent and upside.</li>
    <li>Tye Hill CB Clemson: Hill has amazing speed, decent ball-hawking skills and is a solid man-to-man cover corner. He's on the small side and needs experience in zone coverage (which the Chargers do use from time to time) but he's got a lot of potential and upside.</li>
    <li>Marcus McNeil OT Auburn: McNeil has fallen on many draft boards due to injury concerns with his back (though few scouts are worried about them) and his lack of a killer instinct. Nevertheless McNeil is a colossus sized tackle with great skills in pass and run blocking, a massive wing span and good speed. His talent plus his intangibles make him a very tempting pick even with the concerns.</li>
    <li>Jason Allen CB/S Tennessee: His versatility is his calling card; he's got good speed, can locate the ball well and is solid against the run. The injury hasn't affected his ability like previously thought and his great workout and performance at the combine have shot him up to the first round. The problem is what would you do with him? He needs time to learn one position and is master of neither.</li>
    <li>Santonio Holmes WR Ohio State: If the Chargers pick him here, it's solely a BPA (best player available) pick. He's got the speed, the catching ability and the toughness to truly be a #1 receiver but needs to tone down his attitude.</li>
    </ol>
    2nd Round Draft Board
    <ol>
    <li>Daryn Colledge OT Boise State: College is a small school prospect with a lot of talent. Right now he is undersized for a tackle (295) but he is solid in pass protection and has a great attitude and work ethic. He would need a year to improve his strength, his bulk and his run blocking. And though he is a better fit in a zone blocking system, he's still talented enough to be a solid tackle for the Chargers.</li>
    <li>Davin Joseph OG Oklahoma: The Chargers like LG Kris Dielman but Joseph is the finest and most polished guard in the draft. He's an outstanding run and pass blocker with a great attitude and drive. He struggles in space and has sub-standard footwork, but his positives suggest he could be as good as Steve Hutchinson.</li>
    <li>Max Jean-Giles OL Georgia: I am not that big of a Jean-Giles fan as he reminds me in some ways of Chargers bust Tonui Fonoti. Giles must keep his weight under control and his head constantly in the game. That being said he's still a mountain of a man and an absolutely dominating run blocker with good feet. If the Chargers seriously want to keep Olivea at RT, which is a possibility, then they need a better guard to replace Goff.</li>
    <li>Danieal Manning CB/S Abilene Christian: He's the top sleeper in the draft period. A fantastic ball hawk that is a threat to take it to the house every time he gets his hands on the ball. A lot of people think of Manning as a poor man's Ed Reed and though he's from a small school, he is outstanding all around. He could also, conceivably, be moved to corner and be successful like another small school prospect; Jaguars CB Rashead Mathis.</li>
    <li>Demetrius Williams WR Oregon: Williams has had little stability at the quarterback position throughout his career with the Ducks and yet has still had a solid career. He's a quick receiver who, if you throw the ball up to, will come down with it and he's very effective at beating the jam. The jury's out whether he'd ever become a true #1 with a lack of true speed and poor route running, but he's very talented.</li>
    </ol>
    3rd Round Draft Board
    <ol>
    <li>Andrew Whitworth OT LSU: A pure right tackle from the bayou. He's a big nasty mauler who never quits and specializes in run blocking, but is also decent in pass blocking and an OL leader. He's a marginal athlete with a lower upside then many of his peers, but many scouts feel you could shove Whitworth in at right tackle and sleep easy at night.</li>
    <li>Babatunde Oshinowo NT Stanford: This is a bit higher then he should be going but he would fit perfectly as a 3-4 NT. Very intelligent, very coachable and specializes in jamming up the middle and taking on blockers. Does need to gain some weight, has no pass rush ability and has a real lack of aggression, but his other qualities ensure he can play the critical nose tackle position.</li>
    <li>Maurice Stovall WR Notre Dame: In many ways, Stovall is very similar to Vincent Jackson. Stovall is a very big target with decent, but not elite, speed that uses his big frame effectively and can go up and get anything in his area. He does have issues maintaining focus throughout the game and for all his talent, he only played to his ability in his senior year, which means he will need to be coached and baby-sat throughout his rookie year.</li>
    <li>Jonathan Scott OT Texas: A player that truly fell from grace, Scott was once thought to be a first rounder and has first round talent. He can pass block very effectively, has fantastic footwork and is a durable and smart player who blocked for the national champions. But Scott is the definition of an underachiever who has never taken his game to another level. He also is not a very good run blocker, has no aggression or mean streak and must get stronger (he put up a paltry 11 reps at the combine).</li>
    <li>Alan Zemaitis CB Penn State: A starter with the Nittany Lions, Zemaitis has good instincts and ball hawking ability combined with solid tackling. He's also very intelligent and very hardworking, drawing comparisons to Ronde Barber of the Buccaneers. Zemaitis is not very fast and prefers to play in zone, which the Chargers do not use. As such he might be a better fit in a cover 2 then in the Chargers bump-and-run scheme.</li>
    </ol>
    Day 2 Pick-Ups
    <ul>
    <li>Martin Nance WR Miami (OH) (4th): Ben Rothlisberger's favorite target in college. Had a major knee injury in 2004 and does not have pure speed, but he is another big target with good hands and good speed. Would be a great compliment to Vincent Jackson.</li>
    <li>Adam Stenavich OL Michigan (4th): A former left tackle who is solid at pass and run blocking, has a great attitude and drive but is very slow on his feet and has trouble with speed rushers. Might have to move inside to left guard.</li>
    <li>Drew Olsen QB UCLA (5th): Not the strongest QB but has good enough of an arm and great accuracy. No team should be happy with AJ Feeley as the backup.</li>
    <li>Dwayne Slay S Texas Tech (5th-6th): It seems like every time he hits someone, he causes a fumble. Excels at run stuffing and plays with great intensity and a high motor, but is very slow. Reminds a lot of scouts of Ernest Shazour last year, whose lack of speed killed his draft stock. Could benefit from a move to ILB.</li>
    <li>Steve Fifita NT Utah (5-6th): Incredibly strong player with good bulk who uses it to disrupt the middle. Is rather short (5'11) and struggles with inconsistency, but he is tailor made for a 3-4 NT.</li>
    <li>Marques Colston WR Hofstra (6th): Similar in many ways to Larry Brackens in last year's draft. He's got great size (6'4) and is very effective at using his body, but his speed is only adequate and he's never played against top talent.</li>
    <li>John Walker CB USC (6th): Very raw and aggressive corner with a ton of natural talent. Needs a lot of coaching but has incredible upside.</li>
    <li>Jay McCareins CB/S Princeton (6th-7th): I am a very big fan of his. He has not played against top competition, does not have great timed speed and is ineffective against the run. McCareins has outstanding ball-hawking ability, great versatility and is a threat to score every time he touches the ball. Also is a kick and punt returner.</li>
    <li>Willie Hall OT Middle Tennessee State (7th): A four year starter at left tackle with great feet, decent pass blocking moves and a lot of upside. He has not played against great competition and needs to get stronger, but he has the possibility of being a solid left tackle.</li>
    </ul>
    To those Charger fans that are unhappy with what General Manager AJ Smith has done this off-season, take heart. If there is one area that AJ Smith truly thrives in, it's the NFL Draft. As 2004 and 2005 have shown, AJ just has a natural ability to get players that will help the team. Next article I will do a full draft for the San Diego Chargers.
     

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