Buddy Nix Sheds Some Light On The Draft

A quick post before I leave for Thailand...some quotes from Chargers Assistant General Manager/Director of Player Personnel Buddy Nix. Nix is AJ Smith's right-hand man and is responsible for college scouting. In a recent interview on local station MightyXX, Buddy had shared some insight on the draft:

On deep positions in the draft:

You know, I think offensive linemen. I think offensive tackles especially are deep. I think corners; we've got some depth at corner. And it looked like running back was going to be a little bit slighted but then the Juniors come out and now running back looks pretty strong. And you got a lot of receivers, maybe not a marquee guy but a really deep draft in receivers that will have a chance.

Does 'depth' mean you can find potential starters in rounds 4 and later?

Yea that, and guys that can make your team. I don't think it necessarily has to be starters, especially with us. It kind of (comes down to) what you've got on your team that determines whether or not they can be starters. But 'depth' to me is players that can come in and contribute; help you win, help your team get better.

Is Darren Sproles a situational guy or a backup running back?

I think he's a situation guy. And he proved last year his worth by far as a returner and as a change of pace guy. Coach Turner really used him to his potential I thought, and probably will be able to do that again. Yea, I think he's a situation guy.

Do you replace Michael Turner with similar-type of runner, or are you simply looking for a quality backup?

I think you're looking for a guy who can be a backup running back. A change of pace guy; you'd kind of like to give them something different. A big back, somebody that was a pounder late in the game or late in the first half. But it doesn't necessarily have to be that way. If its a guy that's similar to the one you got, and he's good enough to come in and contribute, then you've helped your team.

On Michael Turner's value and talent:

You know we got Michael Turner in the fifth round, and if you're looking for a fifth rounder that's as good as he is, then...you know, I don't believe lightning strikes twice in the same place, so it'd be pretty hard to find that.

On the possibility of trading down and acquiring more draft picks:

You know, you just never know. It takes two to trade. Just because you want to trade down, doesn't mean you can. It takes somebody else wanting to move up. I know this; I know what my job is, and our job as personnel people is to be prepared. If (AJ Smith) walks in with ten minutes to go or fifteen minutes to go and says we got the next pick, and if that's in the second round we've got to be ready, and not be scrambling around and giving a blank look like 'where do we go from here?' so we've got to be ready like we got a pick every round.

There are a few things I take away from this interview; One thing that seems to be a common thread is that the Chargers front office feels strongly that there is a strong group of offensive tackles in this draft, and they've reiterated that it isn't necessarily top heavy. They've intimated that the depth is multiple rounds deep. Does that mean that there is less of a need to jump on a tackle in the first round if they can get a good player later?

I find it interesting that they continue to praise Darren Sproles' return ability, but it seems they obviously will be looking to draft a backup running back. While the need for a running back is obvious, I personally feel the Chargers could upgrade their return game. I think Sproles is a good player, but I think the Chargers could get someone for competition and we already know they've met with guys with great return skills like Eddie Royal.

And as for finding that backup running back, it would seem likely that they take a back on day one if the right one is there. Nix mentioned that finding a guy with Michael Turner's skill just doesn't happen all that often by waiting until round 5. I could easily see the Chargers drafting a running back before the draft and offensive lineman, simply due to the value.

Anyways, I've got to run some last minute errands before I fly out of the country, so this will be my last post for a while. Peace!

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April 17, 2008

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