Predicting The Chargers Draft: Be The GM

Predicting what an NFL team will do in the draft is a fun offseason diversion, but in reality it is a tough assignment. If AJ Smith is the GM of your favorite team, that task becomes much more difficult. To accurately gauge what a team like the Chargers, who will select in the 18th spot of the first round, will do with their first pick you must first accurately predict what the 17 teams in front of them will do.

With an abundance of possible scenarios that could play out in those first 17 picks, there are any number of directions in which the Chargers might go. We will spend the next seven weeks examining some possible draft day scenarios, and you, the Chargers faithful, will have a chance to choose which player the Chargers should select in each scenario.

Our first first-round draft day scenario comes from Walter Cherepinksy of It’s worth noting that trade scenarios are not a part of most mock drafts, even if AJ Smith is your favorite team’s GM.

1. Carolina Panthers: Cam Newton QB
2. Denver Broncos: Marcell Dareus DT
3. Buffalo Bills: Patrick Peterson CB
4. Cincinatti Bengals: AJ Green WR
5. Arizona Cardinals: Von Miller DE/OLB
6. Cleveland Browns: Da’Quan Bowers DE
7. San Francisco 49ers: Blaine Gabbert QB
8. Tennessee Titans: Nick Fairley DT
9. Dallas Cowboys: Prince Amukamara CB
10. Washington Redskins: Julio Jones WR
11. Houston Texans: Robert Quinn DE/OLB
12. Minnesota Vikings: JJ Watt DE
13. Detroit Lions: Tyron Smith OT
14. St Louis Rams: Aldon Smith DE
15. Miami Dolphins: Mark Ingram RB
16. Jacksonville Jaguars: Ryan Kerrigan DE
17. New England Patriots: Cameron Jordan DE
18. San Diego Chargers: ???

Of interest to Chargers fans in this mock draft, Walter has seven defensive ends being selected before the Chargers pick at number 18. Watt, Jordan, and Kerrigan, players commonly tied to the Chargers in various mock drafts are all gone before the clock starts on the Bolts first pick. At this point, in the Chargers war room, AJ Smith and company have to decide whether they want to take the 8th defensive end of the first round (a position I now view as my top need for the team), or possibly look at another high priority position like inside linebacker, offensive lineman, or maybe even wide receiver.

Potential selections in this scenario include defensive ends Cameron Heyward, Adrian Clayborn, or Akeem Ayers, offensive tackles Anthony Castonzo or Nate Solder, wide receiver Torrey Smith, or possibly even the top rated safety, Rahim Moore (although highly unlikely).

If I place myself in the position of Chargers GM, I would lean toward Cameron Heyward or Akeem Ayers, two defensive ends who could step in and start immediately. Ultimately I would pick Ayers, a guy who can immediately help the Chargers on the end or possibly at outside linebacker in certain packages. Depending on how the Chargers identify their greatest weaknesses, I could see Ayers at either DE or OLB for a long time.

Now it’s your turn to be the GM. Given this particular draft day scenario, who would you select and why?

March 13, 2011

Join our team:


musicmansf said... Mar 14, 2011, 12:29:00 PM

Nope. Wilkerson.

boltfan said... Mar 14, 2011, 3:19:00 PM

At this point I go OT- I like Solder!

jjamesnaz said... Mar 14, 2011, 6:16:00 PM

I would go with Heyward or Wilkerson. Ayers would be a good OLB, but we don't need one. I think he would get demolished as a DE in the 3-4. Heyward and Wilkerson are both beasts and would be great additions to our defense

Jeff Williams said... Mar 14, 2011, 7:31:00 PM

I think the Chargers do need an OLB, if not start then to at least provide someone to split time with English and spell Phillips. But I agree, not the most pressing need. Wilkerson is a great pick actually, don't know why I left him off my list. Some mock drafts have him moving up into the 10-15 range.

WalterFootball said... Mar 15, 2011, 5:19:00 PM

I can't see the Chargers going rush linebacker; by doing that, A.J. would be telling everyone that he screwed up. I think the Chargers go five-tech in the first round (Wilkerson or Heyward) and then rush linebacker (Sam Acho, Jabaal Sheard, Chris Carter) with one of their second-round picks.

Walter Football said... Mar 15, 2011, 5:20:00 PM

Screwed up with Larry English, I meant to say.

Tlsm1 said... Mar 15, 2011, 10:54:00 PM

Torrey Smith to Sproles in the return game.

MinneBolta said... Mar 16, 2011, 12:29:00 AM

Ayers isnt a 3-4 DE, he just simply doesnt have the size. A 3-4 end is needed to be as close to 300lbs as possible, and anywhere from 6-1 to 6-5. Hes basically an OLB, and an extremely over-hyped one if you watch much tape. OLB isn't a terrible thing for San Diego, as I do think the position can be viewed as a position of relative need. With that said, I dont see AJ taking an OLB in the 1st round. He isnt one to give up on draft picks, especially first rounders like Larry English. English has had trouble staying healthy, but you can see some of the explosion he possess' when he is on the field.

A DE is a position of HUGE need if you ask me. I was praying for Alualu in last years draft, but Jax went crazy and took him at 10. We have lacked an impact end for sometime now, and its a position that can easily be overlooked. A 3-4 DE is primarily there to stuff the running lanes, and ground blockers for the OLB to come in freely, but imagine the disruption a great pass-rushing DE can have. We wouldnt have to rely completely on OLB rushes to get to the QB, and could afford to drop more into coverage. In this scenario (with Watt and Jordan gone), I really like Adrian Clayborn. He's a big body with a tenacious motor, and the ability to bully his way to the QB. His flag of course, is the much heralded "Off the field" issues. If those could be cleared up, he could step in on day 1 and immediately impact our team.

Jeff Williams said... Mar 16, 2011, 7:50:00 AM

I liked the versatility that Ayers brings, because we will replace English sooner rather than later. I see him in the mold of a John Abraham or Robert Mathis, although admittedly they better suited as ends in a 4-3.

I think MinneBolta nailed it on Clayborn- solid pick but character issues probably take him off the Chargers board. Not that I agree with that, but it seems to be way AJ thinks.

I would be happy with Wilkerson or Clayborn here, but will be happy with any solid defensive player in the first round.

Rtheoutlaw said... Mar 16, 2011, 10:15:00 AM

This is just more hopeful that these guys will still be available when our turns come around but I did a little mock draft a few weeks ago and would like to go this route.

rd1: DE Cameron Jordan
rd2: WR Leonard Hankerson
rd2: OLB Sam Acho
rd3: CB Marcus Gilchrist
rd3: OT Jason Pinkston
rd6: SS Shiloh Keo

Jeff Williams said... Mar 16, 2011, 4:03:00 PM

Outlaw, if Jordan is gone who do you go with?

WR in the 2nd? I hope not. Seriously, I hope their first 3 picks are defense (OK if there is an OT you can't pass up).

MinneBolta said... Mar 16, 2011, 8:45:00 PM

I wouldnt mind seeing a WR in the 2nd/3rd. Especially considering the losses we're looking it (Floyd, Nanee) and the question marks surrounding V-jack. I REALLY like Austin Pettis.

isaac said... Mar 17, 2011, 11:16:00 AM

I really hope FA starts before the draft!!!

Hopefully we can sign

ILB- Takeo Spikes
NT- Kris Jenkins -move garay to RDE

then draft
1-Justin Houston-OLB-Georgia
2-Titus Young-WR-Boise st
2-Marcus Cannon- G/OT- TCU
3-Daunte Williams-FS- UNC
3-Kelvin Sheppard-ILB-LSU

Mark said... Mar 17, 2011, 3:09:00 PM

Whover it is, there will be one word to sum-up who AJ picks at #18......BUST!

Need I remind you, James "BUSTer" Davis, Larry English, and soon to be a bust, Ryan Matthews.

Lord help us.......................

Gareyj13 said... Mar 18, 2011, 11:53:00 AM

Since they have an extra draft pick in round 2, I would trade that to a team like the Cowboys or Redskins to take Julio Jones away from St. Louis. Then when free agency starts, they can get rid of V-Jax for picks and reduce the cap. The Skins need more picks and would most likely be a willing participant.

cczer08 said... Mar 18, 2011, 12:30:00 PM

Agree with most of what you say, including hoping for Alualu last year before he got overdrafted by Jax. I especially agree on Ayers - a lot of people seem to like him but I have not heard or seen much evidence supporting the idea that he will be an impact player in the NFL. My one disagreement is with Clayborn - I think he is exclusively a 4-3 end and I would try to trade back 6-8 spots and grab Wilkerson instead.

cczer08 said... Mar 18, 2011, 12:33:00 PM

Kris Jenkins is all used up. I think we are better off hoping that Cam Thomas shows some improvement this year to create a useful rotation including him, Garay and occasionall Nwagbuo.

cczer08 said... Mar 18, 2011, 12:37:00 PM

The last thing we need is a WR in round 1. VJ is tagged and said he will play - just keep him and let him play this year while you work on a long-term deal. The overwhelming need on this team is defense, especially DE and pass rush, so it would be a shame to use up two picks getting a receiver. Besides, receivers are generally a bad bet in the 1st round due to the lengthy learning curve at the position and the high bust factor. Pick a receiver in the 3rd and develop him for the next couple of years before you really expect him to produce a lot. Use the picks in rounds 1 and 2 to get stronger on both lines of scrimmage and improve the pass rush.

cczer08 said... Mar 18, 2011, 12:43:00 PM

Walter Football has failed to account for the fact that at least 3, and very possibly 4 QBs will be taken in the top 15. I know, some of those would qualify as serious reaches, but this league is QB crazy and the position gets overdrafted every year. I wouldn't be a bit surprised is Cincy takes Mallet at #4 - remember, no one expected them to take Andre Smith at #6 a couple years ago. Look back at the recent history of the draft and you will see a real tendency of teams to overvalue QBs in the first round, and there are a bunch in this year's top 15 that really need one. Once all those QBs get taken, it could easily push guys like Watt and/or Jordan down the board to the Chargers.

cczer08 said... Mar 18, 2011, 12:46:00 PM

Agree with this. AJ and the coaching staff still believe English can be an impact player.

Joeventura2003 said... Mar 19, 2011, 10:01:00 AM

There is a better way. What I would do if I were AJ

1. Ryan Kerrigan (He is going to be a great football player)
2. Cameron Hayward (His stock should fall a little because of his elbow surgery)
2. Leonard Hankerson (This is a baller at WR)
3. Casey Matthews (This guys is going to be a monster in the NFL)
3. Dontay Moch or Robert Sands or DeAndre McDaniel (Best defensive players on the board)
6. Best player on the board

Our offense in very good already you just need to pick up an OL on the market and we are great once again. In this draft we need to focus on defense because defense wins champions.

ChaseTheCharger said... Mar 19, 2011, 5:02:00 PM

If Akeem Ayers is still on the board, easy pick. I personally have him going to Detroit at 13 but if he falls to us I think AJ will have no problem pulling the trigger on that guy. Yes, DE is our top need in the draft, but the class is STACKED this year and with 2 picks in the 2nd round we're sure to land someone who can come in and start the season or at least rotate before eventually starting. Guys like Allen Bailey (who we interviewed at the senior bowl), Drake Nevis, Marvin Austin, and Sione Fua are all in that 2nd to 3rd round projection and if we get Akeem in the 1st and aim for a DL after...should be a solid first 2 rounds...wish there were more 1st round wide receivers this year ha

Jeff Williams said... Mar 20, 2011, 10:29:00 AM

Joe, in this scenario Kerrigan is gone (and I don't think it's a stretch that he will be gone in most draft scenarios before the 18th pick), and I think Heyward still has enough potential to get picked by someone else late in the first.

Chase, I think you nailed it!

Look for the next draft day scenario Monday morning!

MinneBolta said... Mar 20, 2011, 2:22:00 PM

I can't argue thatt point enough personally. Akeem Ayers isn't anything special, and I think everyone will realize that when he drops to Tampa Bay at the end of the 1st. He is nothing but "potential" and thats only because of his size. He didnt produce consistently in College, and lacks any sort of impact play capability, and he's an average-at-best tackler. He doesnt have pass-rushing moves beyond speed rush, which isnt even that overwhelming. The only reason he is being talked about in the 1st round is because of his potential, not his talent. In fact, the only OLB im considering as a potential pick for us is Aldon Smith. Other than that, it needs to be a DE, especially when you consider the amount of FA's on the line this year (Cesaire, Johnson, etc). DE has been a weak spot for us for some time, and it deserves to be addressed.

Steve said... Mar 20, 2011, 8:43:00 PM

Trade down to around 25ish since the giants and colts will want to start a run of tackles and a team like the bears might want to move up.

Latte said... Mar 22, 2011, 11:12:00 AM

Aldon Smith or the Tackle from Wisconsin.

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