In our continuing Be The GM series we take a look at a different spin on the first round of the NFL draft. This new look at the first round has a decisively defensive slant to it. Mock projections for some teams in today's scenario might be a bit of a stretch, but I believe that a heavily defense-oriented first round is going to be more likely than not.
Imagine a first round that looks like this:
01. Carolina Panthers: Patrick Peterson CB
02. Denver Broncos: Marcell Darius DE
03. Buffalo Bills: Da’Quan Bowers DE
04. Cincinnati Bengals: Blaine Gabbert QB
05. Arizona Cardinals: Von Miller OLB
06. Cleveland Browns: AJ Green WR
07. San Francisco 49ers: Robert Quinn DE
08. Tennessee Titans: Cam Newton QB
09. Dallas Cowboys: Prince Amukamara CB
10. Washington Redskins: Nick Fairley DT/DE
11. Houston Texans: Prince Amukamara CB
12. Minnesota Vikings: JJ Watt DE
13. Detroit Lions: Aldon Smith DE/OLB
14. St Louis Rams: Cameron Jordan DE
15. Miami Dolphins: Mark Ingram RB
16. Jacksonville Jaguars: Muhammad Wilkerson DE
17. New England Patriots: Ryan Kerrigan DE
18. San Diego Chargers: ???
I don't think it's a stretch to think that QB's will not be the focus of this year's draft. Gabbert and Newton, at this stage, are no Sam Bradford or Matthew Stafford. The unknowns surrounding the lockout make it even more difficult to pick a guy who needs a lot of work to have even a remote chance of starting on day-one. Instead of offense-oriented players, I see teams focusing on defense, much to the detriment of the Chargers selecting at 18 in the first round.
Gone are Watt, Smith, Jordan, Kerrigan, and fan-favorite Wilkerson, using this first round draft scenario. Defensive players who remain on the board for the Chargers include DT Corey Liuget, DE Adrian Clayborn, OLB Akeem Ayers, and CB Jimmy Smith, among others. On the other hand the Chargers have a number of great directions in which to go in on offense, including any of the top offensive tackles or guards, as well as WR Julio Jones.
My personal preference for the Chargers in the first round is on the defensive side of the ball, but none of the available picks excite me. You could definitely make an arguement for trading down into the 20's, but then you would run the risk of losing one of the two or three premier offensive tackles, or risk draining the pool of available defensive players even more.
Using this first round scenario, I would have to select OT Tyron Smith, or my personal favorite OT Gabe Carimi. Tyron Smith has huge upside as a right tackle, while Carimi could start on either side of the line and dominate from day one.
With the run on defensive players in this draft day scenario, who would you select for the Chargers at #18? Be The GM, and sound off below!
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