Chargers Use Draft To Patch Holes And Add Depth

Well the 2007 NFL Draft has come and gone, and the Chargers didn't make the big splash people expected. In what has become somewhat of a role reversal, the Chargers operated this offseason in a fashion reminiscent of New England a few years ago; allowing starting players to leave via free agency and not bringing in any new guys.

Now its the Patriots who are making waves in both the draft (taking Brandon Meriwether in the first) and in free agency (signing and trading for high-profile players), with the Chargers content to quietly patch up an already impressive roster.

AJ Smith loves to have depth and to create competition within the player ranks. He lost Linebackers Donnie Edwards and Randell Godfrey (although there remains an outside chance Godfrey returns) so he makes a point to take two linebackers in the draft.

Smith allowed veteran Receiver Keenan McCardell to walk and has seen injuries really hurt an under-performing wide receiver corp, so he adds youth and talent to the mix by taking two receivers in the draft.

Needing a safety to replace the booted Terrance Kiel, AJ Smith creates a package and moves way up in the second round to secure a talented Safety who could potential start right away.

The Tight End position has been anchored by Pro Bowler Antonio Gates, and Brandon Manumaleuna proved to be a valuable blocker and was well worth the trade last year. But guys like Aaron Shea and Ryan Krause proved to be disappointments who didn't help the team at all so they got the boot. With a hole in the Tight End depth chart that needed to be filled Smith takes a tight end with his first pick on day two.

With talent and youth added to championship roster, Smith addressed the immediate needs on the team by adding players to fill roles on offense, defense, and special teams.

Throughout the week, I'll be breaking down the new Chargers and trying to project how they will fit into the system and what they bring to the team. But at the end of the day, I would have to call the Chargers 2007 draft a successful one, if not very flashy. Time will tell if AJ Smith and crew made the right choices, but on paper the Chargers roster appears talent laden with no real holes.

April 29, 2007

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