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 WalterFootball.com. 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?
Labels: NFL Draft 2011
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