Chargers Draft 2011: Channel Your Inner A.J. Smith

The rumor mill has been spinning at a furious pace for the Bolts and their draft forecast of late now that the team’s total pick allotment has been established. San Diego is now in possession of eight draft choices in total with five of those picks in rounds one through three with the final three occurring in rounds six and seven.

Compensatory picks were awarded as scheduled to the deserving clubs this past Friday with 32 choices in total being handed out by the league. The Chargers’ grand total of eight picks (18, 50, 61, 82, 89, 178, 201 and 233) heading into April’s draft is second only to the New England Patriots at this point and sets the team up to have a successful offseason in replenishing their roster’s talent pool.

Everyone knows that General Manager A.J. Smith has a tendency to wheel and deal when it comes to the draft and maneuvering to land players that he really covets. This year could be no exception with some significant ammunition on the team’s plate with five picks out of the top 89 overall.

Plenty of rumors have been swirling as to the players the team may consider at their current first round selection point of 18th overall in round number one, but the positions of interest seem to be unanimous. Priorities for the Bolts are mainly on defense this offseason with the team needing to add some quality on both the defensive line and in the pass rushing department at outside linebacker. Fortunately for San Diego, it seems that the defensive end position is particularly deep in terms of quality players who could be potential day one starters and make a real impact at that position.

It is just recently however that the idea of getting two picks in the first round has become a part of the conversation. There has been a history between the Chargers when it comes to making deals with the New England Patriots who are always looking to trade and stock up on picks for a rainy day. New England is again a topic of conversation as the owners of two first round picks this April and may wish to trade down from one of those selections.

The pick in question is the 28th overall selection (New England’s second in round one) and there are several scenarios that could play out and offer and enticing situation for the Chargers to pounce on. There is some evidence to support such a trade being in the works according to sources as this link details a potential trade with the Pats and that the Bolts’ two second round picks would be an attractive value for the Patriots in trading off of the 28th selection.

Let’s take a trip back in time to the 2005 NFL Draft when the Chargers were already the owners of two picks in the draft’s opening round. The team was zeroed in on defensive prospects and landed pass rushing specialist Shawne Merriman with the 12th overall pick and then turned to the defensive line for end Luis Castillo at 28.

Now back to the present where the Chargers could potentially be in position to get a quality pass rusher the likes of Ryan Kerrigan from Purdue with the 18th overall pick and then turn to the defensive line in a trade up scenario with the Pats at pick 28 and snag Miami’s Allen Bailey. Such a scenario would be nearly identical to the way the draft played itself out in 2005 which is widely regarded as one of GM Smith’s most successful classes during his tenure with the Bolts. It has been reported that the former Miami Hurricane Bailey is scheduled to visit with the Chargers which could be yet another piece of this draft puzzle falling into place.

According to proverbs, having your cake and eating it too is widely regarded as an impossibility, but for the Bolts in this year’s NFL Draft, it could become a reality. Even in a trade up scenario such as the one outlined above, the team would still have their two third round picks as well as two in the sixth and one in the seventh to use on more depth.

A position such as offensive tackle is also considered to be a need for the Chargers, but the depth at that position is such that it could allow the team to find a so-called ‘diamond in the rough’ later on in the selection process. GM Smith offered his thoughts on the strengths of this year’s class on the team’s website saying: “This particular draft to me is very, very strong at defensive line. Defensive ends and defensive tackles. And I think there’s quality through the draft at offensive tackle. That seems to jump out at me right now. There are some other intriguing positions that are pretty good too, but I’ll give you those two. I think if you’re looking for help at offensive tackle and you’re looking for help on the defensive line, be it defensive tackle or defensive end, I think there’s some outstanding players there that are going to be really good pros.”

It sounds like Smith is determined to give this team the help it needs in the trenches this offseason and hopefully toughen them up for a more physical brand of football. The old cliché of the game being won and lost along the line of scrimmage is still applicable as evidenced by the Bolts missing the playoffs for the first time in five seasons last year. Adding some quality to both sides of the ball in the trenches should rectify that area of concern and turn some of those L’s into W’s in 2011.

Now let’s hear from you. Do you think the two compensatory picks that the team received frees them up to make more deals during the draft? How do you feel about the prospect of having two first round picks this offseason? Does the outlined trade up scenario remind you of the 2005 draft when the Bolts had defensive players as their main targets? How would the addition of two players like Ryan Kerrigan and Allen Bailey impact that quality of the team’s defense in 2011? Channel your inner A.J. Smith, will he be content to stay at his current draft choices as they are or will he be swayed by the temptation to trade up when draft day arrives? Please leave you thoughts in the comments section below!

March 29, 2011

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cczer08 said... Mar 29, 2011, 1:42:00 PM

Sigh. Can we ever have a draft where the Chargers do not trade up? I have a hard time accepting the notion that adding 6th and 7th round comp picks frees the Chargers to give away their two 2nd rounders to trade into spot 28. Those simply don't come close to comparing with the type of players two 2nd round picks would bring.

As for specific names, please don't draft Kerrigan. He is a project who would move from DE to OLB, but would take time to develop and may not have the required athleticism to play that position. Why take on another 1st round project like that when the team seems to still have high hopes for Larry English? This year's draft has lots of players who played DE in college but project to 3-4 OLB in the NFL. We do need to invest in depth at that spot, but if a guy is going to take a couple years to develop anyway, why not pick that guy in the 2nd round instead of the 1st.

Beyond that, late 1st is too high for Bailey, who looks like a mid-2nd rounder to me. A much better approach would be to get JJ Watt in the 1st and target an OLB prospect like Brooks Reed, Sam Acho or Jabaal Sheard in the 2nd. Then use the other 2nd to grab a new RT, and you still have two 3rd rounders to address depth at positions like WR, CB, S, ILB, etc. The 6th and 7th rounders can be used to target "specialists", like a kick returner, a 3rd down back and special teamers that will hopefully prevent the team from giving up 47 kickoff return touchdowns again.

Tony C said... Mar 29, 2011, 2:07:00 PM

cczer08 has it right . Bailey is no 1st rounder. If Watt's not there at 18th then take Wilkerson and in the 2nd round Sheard or Acho should be available. Reed will be gone with the 50th pick for sure. Middle linebacker is a vital need with the next 2nd round pick. We need at least three new starters on the defense. Sign Clary or another free agent for right tackle and we should be fine on the OLine for one more year. In the 3rd round a reciever like Titus Young or Jerrel Jernigan would be the spark plug we need to bring the offense to the next level. Jernigan is a great reciever.

Hixster said... Mar 29, 2011, 5:39:00 PM

I agree with both - hard to tell who's really going to be there but we're more in need of front line pressure from the outside with the age & skill we've currently got and hope that pressure ties up lineman to free an English to be more effective. We've seen the various names but we need some bulk and tenacity. Sure, I'd take Watt if he clears the earlier teen picks. But we don't want linebacker size, we want someone who can man up. Between English and Butler we have no idea what we already have on the roster. I wouldn't be surprised if it took Butler another year but he still could be a good pick. Hopefully he get's some playing time and starts to get acquainted. I like the DE first, then see if you can package a 3 and a couple later picks to get someone's high 2. If we could get a #18 pick in the first, 3 second round picks spread throughout, and one 3 we could get some serious talent a variety of positions.

MinnesotaChargerFan said... Mar 30, 2011, 2:47:00 PM

Let's not trade! We are in a good position to fill our needs with the picks we have. Keep all our current picks!

chaldean said... Apr 13, 2011, 10:59:00 AM

we have to search for good player who there name not found yet to many good player there will be there we have to find them and get them with out tread or less cost we have to be sharp and good to find the hidden fire in there eyes we need good scouting team not just good G.M. only

PEGGYKIM2 said... Apr 22, 2011, 9:13:00 AM


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