If you are a draft geek like me, you have probably read a million mock drafts that have the Chargers drafting defense in the first round, with most putting their money on outside linebacker as the Charger's position of choice. It wouldn't be a stretch to see AJ Smith go in a different direction based on surprises before the 18th pick, and based on his own predilection for surprises himself, but I think outside linebacker is the most obvious choice for the Chargers in the first round.
Assuming that the Chargers go OLB in the first round (selecting a player like Courtney Upshaw or, more likely, Whitney Mercilus), the eyes of the Chargers faithful will turn to the 2nd round and pick number 49 overall.
With a shiny new OLB to rotate in on passing downs, there are still some obvious needs on the roster, with defense remaining the top priority in my opinion. But having needs on defense doesn't mean the best player available will fit those needs. Projecting the best player available at #49 first depends on figuring out who was selected in the preceding 48 picks.
To give us some perspective leading up to the Chargers' second round selection, we turn again to WalterFootball.com and draft analyst Charlie Campbell. Campbell has the Chargers selecting Mercilus in the first round, a common selection among experts who recognize the Bolts' need at outside linebacker and the probable absence of other talented pass rushers like Courtney Upshaw and Quinton Coples when pick #18 rolls around. It's also worth noting that Campbell has S Mark Barron available for the Chargers in the first round, eventually being selected three picks later by the Bengals.
In Campbell's draft scenario, with Barron off the board in the first round, the Chargers still have a huge hole at strong safety going into the second round and you have to assume AJ is praying one Harrison Smith drops to him at #49. And according to Campbell, the Chargers may very well be out of luck as he has Smith going to the Patriots at #48. This may very well be the worst case scenario for the Chargers in the 2nd round unless you aren't sold on Smith as the 2nd coming of Rodney Harrison.
But whether you love him or hate him, the 2nd-ranked safety in the draft has already been selected in this scenario, as were other second round possibilities like DE/OLB's Andre Branch and Zach Brown, TE Coby Fleener, and T Mike Adams.
Who does that leave for the Chargers? Campbell has the Chargers selecting G Kevin Zeitler, and it would be hard to complain about a run blocking stud like Zeitler joining your team.
Other possibilities include DE/DT Jerel Worthy (who might fit better as a defensive end in the 3-4 but could grow into the NT position), TE Dwayne Allen, or T Zebrie Sanders. And don't be surprised if AJ shocks the world and grabs another RB to share carries with Ryan Mathews; maybe someone like Lamar Miller or David Wilson.
My pick based on this scenario might be CB Josh Robinson. You can't have enough good cornerbacks, and Robinson has the speed to become a disruptive force in the secondary. It would be hard to pass up a talent like Zeitler, but my focus in this draft is on improving the defense. Robinson may be the guy to help strengthen the Bolts group of defensive backs.
That's my pick; what's yours? Check out Charlie Campbell's mock draft at WalterFootball.com, see which players are available for the Chargers in the second round, and then Be The GM for the Chargers second round pick in the comments section below.
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