What Direction Will The Chargers Go Come Draft Day?

The San Diego Chargers have more needs than many people realize. On paper, the Bolts look stacked. But looking ahead just a year or two, we find that the team has both an immediate need for starting players, as well as needs in long-term replacements. They need to replace two starters on the offensive and defensive lines respectively. They need a starting safety opposite Eric Weddle. They need depth at both inside linebacker and outside linebacker. And they need an insurance policy behind Ladainian Tomlinson.

So what direction will the Chargers go come draft day?

In the first couple of rounds, the Chargers will look to find starting caliber players, primarily defensive playmakers. They'll certainly have an eye out for any elite offensive tackles on the board, and will also consider a top running back. But they'll mainly be looking for an impact defensive player. The team will have an excellent opportunity to take an big-play linebacker; they'll have their choice of inside guys like Rey Maualuga, as well as outside pass rushers like Brian Orakpo. Any good 3-4 defense needs impact Outside Linebackers, and the Chargers must get insurance at the position in the event that Shawne Merriman leaves via free agency.

The team would like to aquire a top safety, but this draft class is not very strong at the top. However, there will certainly be starting caliber safeties available in rounds two, three, and four, so the team will likely wait until then. The wildcard here would be DB Malcolm Jenkins who could project to either cornerback or free safety.

The Chargers don't have a second round pick as I write this, and that is a shame considering the tremendous value this round offers. Defensive Tackle Ron Brace will be the cream of the crop and is exactly the type of nose guard the Chargers would covet. They need to prepare for life without Jamal Williams and it would behoove the team to find a way to get back into the round to select Brace.

Every year first-round talent falls into the second round, and this year the Chargers could find RB LeSean McCoy and LB Brian Cushing still on the board. The team needs starting-quality depth at both running back and linebacker and they'll find plenty of it in round two.

As we approach the mid rounds, the team will be more open to looking for a potential starting offensive linemen. They'll also look for a physical running back to pair with Ladainian Tomlinson. The team will also be looking for an in-the-box strong safety to compete for a starting job opposite Eric Weddle. And the team will also need depth along the defensive line and there should be plenty of that in rounds 3-5. They'll use the middle rounds to find specialists, but not necessarily in the traditional sense of special team players. Here they'll look for an in-the-box strong safety, a road-grading offensive lineman, a brusing power-running back, and a space eating defensive linemen.

AJ Smith and his team of scouts go into every draft with a gameplan. In each round, they'll identify a handful of coveted players who might be available at each of the Chargers' picks. AJ Smith calls this grouping a "cluster":
"We'll identify a cluster of four or five players who we think should be around there. We're pretty accurate with who should and shouldn't be there."

In keeping with the team's approach towards the draft, BoltHype has assembled a list of clusters that could be potential targets for the San Diego Chargers on draft day:

Round 1 Cluster

LB Rey Maualuga
DB Malcolm Jenkins
OT Michael Oher
DT B.J. Raji
LB Brian Orakpo
RB Chris Wells

Round 2 Cluster

DT Ron Brace
RB LeSean McCoy
LB Brian Cushing
SS Louis Delmas
SS Patrick Chung
OT Phil Loadholt

Round 3 Cluster

LB Clay Matthews
SS Michael Hamlin
DT Evander Hood
OG Andy Levitre
DE Robert Ayers

Round 4/5 Cluster

RB PJ Hill
LB Zack Follett
OG Kraig Urbik
SS Chip Vaughn
RB Andre Brown
SS Otis Wiley
OT Alex Boone
FB Quinn Johnson

January 28, 2009

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Anonymous said... Jan 29, 2009, 1:17:00 AM

First round we either go Oher or Maualuga at #16 and if they are gone then trade down for a late 1st early 2nd preferably the with the Dolphins. We CAN get McCoy but I don't think so we have bigger needs. Here is what I have if we trade down. Meets all needs to a tee. Email me at iron.pump@hotmail.com if you got something to say.

1st:Tyson Jackson(25th) DE LSU
2nd:Fili Moala DT/DE USC (Dolphins 44th)
3rd:Rashad Jennings RB Liberty
4th:Kaluka Maiava LB USC
4th:Chip Vaughn SS Wakeforest
5th:Ray Feinga OG BYU
5th:Will Davis OLB/DE Illinois
6th:Tony Fiametta FB Syracuse
7th:Jose Valdez OT ARK
Sign: Mike Brown SS, Vernon Carey OT,Jason Brown C/OG that constitutes a great off season.Trade down for a 2nd rounder if Maualuga isn't there.
UDFA:Marlon Favorite DT LSU, Keith Fitzhugh SS Miss St.

Anonymous said... Feb 2, 2009, 10:04:00 PM

That is a pretty good draft
What other good RB do you think will be available during the 3rd round?

gtbos said... Feb 3, 2009, 9:12:00 AM

i think you did your homework,those players would be good,but i think we will get a 3rd rd. pick for losing m.turner.i would like to see 2 or 3 veteran players signed.cut Hart,Wilhelm

Anonymous said... Mar 7, 2009, 9:31:00 PM

we need more picks in the second.
trade some one like chambers to KC for a 2nd and 3rd

Steve Nash said... Apr 15, 2009, 9:56:00 PM

Trade Chambers? Are you nuts? We already got a new MLB. I'd like to see us pick up Tyson Jackson in the first and work on beefing up the offensive line in the later rounds. I think a rebeefed and healthy O-Line will help our running game more than a new RB. LT got over 1000 yards with no blocking last year. Injured. He's still good as long as he's healthy. A good line will make any back look good.

Neoplatonist Bolthead said... Apr 16, 2009, 6:41:00 AM

Yeah, trade Chambers for a 2nd rounder! He's got value, and we've got depth at his position. It's not like we can afford to re-sign him. I think Jacksonville would love him and would never be able to build a player like Chambers on their own.

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